A diet high in fat can be detrimental for couples trying to conceive and cause infertility, experts warn. And contrary to popular belief it’s not just overweight women who are at risk – those who are slim but eat a lot of fat could also be lowering their chances of falling pregnant according to Dr Edgar Mocanu, consultant gynaecologist at Rotunda Hospital in Dublin. In addition to this, unhealthy food also means men are less likely to be virile, with people in wealthy countries like the UK and US most at risk.
“High-fat diets are part of the problem,” Dr Mocanu told the Daily Mail in reference to infertility issues. “This draws attention to the fact that we shouldn’t just concentrate on women in infertility, it can also be a male issue. Diet plays a large role and this is true for men and for women.”
Dr Mocanu is certain a poor diet is a key reason when it comes to figuring out why couples are struggling more with conceiving now than they did in the past. He’s particularly concerned about falling sperm counts, which continue to drop in affluent countries.
His comments were made in light of research that examined fertility rates and the impact of diets high in trans fat in men using IVF to try and conceive. The Harvard School of Public Health found fertilisation rates were lowest in couples where men ate large amounts of fat regularly. Men with the lowest intake of trans fat had an 83 per cent chance of impregnating their partners, while this dropped to 47 per cent for men with the highest intake.
Trans fat can typically be found in fried foods, margarine, sweets and biscuits. Three new studies will be presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference on Tuesday (20Oct15), arguing diets high in fat lead to damaged ovaries, poor quality embryos and lower sperm counts.