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Lifestyle factors: the factors that can make a difference to fertility

Adolfo de Prados, MD
Gynecologist at PreGen (UR Vistahermosa), PreGen (UR Vistahermosa)

Emotions and Support, Lifestyle and Fertility

From this video you will find out:
  • Which lifestyle factors, so-called modifiable factors influence our fertility the most?
  • What kind of diet is best when trying to conceive?
  • How does smoking and drinking alcohol impact my fertility?
  • Does being exposed to various kinds of radiation can also influence my fertility? How can I try to avoid it?
  • Are there any preventive care options that can help?

What lifestyle changes can improve your fertility?

In this session, Dr Adolfo de Prados, Gynaecologist at PreGen (UR Vistahermosa), Valencia, Spain has been talking about lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, but also age, stress, alcohol, smoking that have an impact on your fertility.

What lifestyle changes can improve your fertility? - Questions and Answers

What do you think about heated tobacco like IQOS? Is it really safer than smoking?

IQOS has been very popular in the last two years, but there is no evidence that it is safe. For example, in the United States, there has been an epidemic of a lot of young people having some serious problems with consuming IQOS. The recommendation is to avoid smoking cigarettes and IQOS.  We still don’t exactly know the substance that it contains and the medium and long term effects on our fertility. My recommendation is to avoid smoking.

Does having the HPV virus affect IVF?

We have to know that HPV infection is a very common infection worldwide. More or less, 70-80% of the population is going to have this infection. There are some studies on this topic. In men, they were related with worse seminal parameters, and in women, they’re related with less good quality oocytes, but we don’t have any treatments to deal with it. We have to focus on prevention, so we have to manage it with a good vaccine program in childhood, not only women.  We assume that since we do the screening of cervical infection for women, but we shouldn’t forget that the vectors of the transmission of this virus are men, so we have to do a correct vaccine program to avoid this infection and to avoid the probable consequence of this infection on our health, not only for our fertility but also for possible cervical cancer.

Would high BMI affect frozen embryo transfer or just a fresh IVF cycle?

High BMI is going to affect a frozen embryo transfer and fresh cycle because of the receptiveness of the endometrium. We have to avoid everything in our hands that could decrease our success rate, and obesity is one of them. We have to have a normal BMI to have higher chances of success.

How much per cent does lifestyle contribute to the overall success in the egg donation cycle?

If you are the egg donor, it’s going to affect the quality, and if you are the recipient, it’s going to affect the possibility of implantation. For example,  in obese women, it’s related to less endometrium receptiveness, but also early miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. The answer is yes. I think more or less 50% could be possible. For example, if we have the best embryo, if we have an euploid embryo and if the recipient is a cocaine consumer, the possibility of stillbirth is very high, so the overall success rate will be compromised. I would say it’s 50-50.

You’ve mentioned that vegetable proteins are better. I usually eat mostly vegetarian food but have made an effort to eat more meat. How many eggs and how much chicken should I eat a week?

The best choice is the Mediterranean diet. The animal proteins are needed because of vitamin B12. If you are vegetarian, and you would like to improve the consumption of meat, I would say eat 3 eggs in a week and 2 pieces of chicken, it will be okay.

What can be done to prevent immunity issues regarding our lifestyle?

This is a difficult question because immunology is a recent science, and it’s developing very fast.  Right now, we know that we have more immunological illnesses than we thought. For example, to prevent inflammatory status, we have to avoid using a lot of technology like cell phones, Wi-Fi, we should avoid sleeping with our mobile phone next to us. We have to follow a Mediterranean diet, a good diet which will improve, for example, inflammatory illness of the digestive system. It’s a very difficult question to summarize in one minute. 

What sort of things should one consider with a 3-month pregnant woman with a very active 18-month-old child in her diet?

A good diet you have to support with supplements, iron, and other pregnancy supplements, which contain vitamin D, folic acid, a different type of antioxidants. If you have a balanced diet with a high quantity of monounsaturated fats, for example, avocado or nuts or bluefish. Avoid industrialized fast food, and you have to prioritize the vegetable proteins to animal proteins, but we have to eat animal proteins, for example, meat or fish would be better for a correct pregnancy evolution.

What helps to lose weight? Can you suggest anything for a female with PCOS?

In a female with Polycystic ovary syndrome, we have to know if you have insulin resistance. This is the first step because if you have insulin resistance, we have a treatment for it, the medication is called Metformin.  That would help you lose weight because if we balance insulin and glucose – we are going to help your body to better assimilate the glucose. Also, that will help to decrease the transformation of this glucose into fat.

I am sick and tired of my 100% whole grain bread. Can I eat some bread that is about 30% whole wheat, or would that be really bad?

As I’ve mentioned before, we should not go to extremes, these are not good for us. We have to have a balanced diet. Eating has to be a pleasure, so if you don’t like to eat this type of bread, you can consume another type of bread, limiting the consumption of that type of bread.

Can you suggest specific foods to support embryo implantation?

It’s the same, it’s a correct diet, it’s a correct supplementation, for example, it has been suggested that supplementation with vitamin E can improve the endometrium’s strength. A balanced diet with the supplements that your doctor could recommend like vitamin C, D and CoQ10, in recent years, were very related to correct implantation.

Shall I take probiotic pills if I also eat kimchi, or is one fermented thing a day enough?

I think if you are eating kimchi, it’s okay. Taking probiotic pills would be fine if you, for example, had some frequent episode of trush, then it would be fine to supplement the kimchi with probiotic pills.

Adolfo de Prados, MD

Adolfo de Prados, MD

Dr Adolfo de Prados is a Gynaecologist at PreGen (UR Vistahermosa). He has obtained a medical internship at the General Hospital of Valencia where he specialized in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Since then, he has not stopped training in the field of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, in general, as well as in Reproductive Medicine, in particular. He also has a degree as an Expert in Medical Genetics, issued also by the University of Valencia. In the reproductive medicine area, Adolfo de Prados has been part of Units of reference, such as Salud de la Mujer Dexeus, among others. He currently combines his care activity with his activity as a teacher as a professor in the Master of Human Reproduction.
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Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.
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