Dairy Intake Improves Reproductive Outcomes
ASRM Office of Public Affairs,
22 October 2014

Honolulu, Hawaii- New research presented at the 70th Annual Meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine shows that consuming dairy foods can be advantageous for women undergoing IVF and for the health of embryos exposed to BPA.


Before undergoing IVF at Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, women in subfertile couples had their diets assessed using a food frequency questionnaire.  IVF outcomes were recorded for patients who completed their cycles within 18 months of the questionnaire; outcomes data includedfertilization rates, embryo quality, implantation, pregnancy and live birth rates.  When outcomes were correlated with the patients’ dietary information, the researchers found that dairy food consumption was associated with higher live birth rates. Women consuming the highest (more than three servings per day) amounts of dairy had a 21% greater chance of having a live birth than those consuming the least dairy (less than 1.34 servings per day).

A study done at the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Hospital showed that a maternal diet rich in butter fat can ameliorate some of the harmful effects of bisphenol-A (BPA) exposure on embryos.  Female rats were placed on various diets incorporating different amounts of butterfat and different concentrations of BPA.  After the rats were mated, embryo implantation and quality were checked twice, at four and a half days and at eight days. The researchers found that on day eight, the rats on the high butterfat diet without BPA produced the largest embryos, while rats who had been exposed to BPA in their diet without addition of butterfat, produced the smallest embryos- which also lacked trophoblasts and were incapable of implantation.  However, including high butterfat in a diet containing BPA enabled the rats to produce embryos larger than those from the BPA-only group and without developmental deficiencies.  For rats unexposed to BPA, a diet in which butterfat accounted for 40% of calories resulted in better embryo development than a diet with 4% of calories from butterfat.

Kurt Barnhart, MD, President of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility  commented, “A complete and balanced diet is essential to optimize reproductive function. These studies point us in an interesting direction for future research into the nutrients found in dairy products which may promote embryo growth and development.”  

P-530 MC Afeiche et al, “Dairy Intake in Women and In Vitro Fertilization Outcomes” 

P-407 Martinez et al, “High Fat Butter Ameliorates the Impaired Embryo Implantation of Female Rats Exposed to Dietary Bisphenol-A”

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