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The Impact of Sugar, Soda and Caffeine on IVF

To date, most of the focus on what a woman drinks headed into IVF has been placed on caffeine or alcohol. Less attention has been paid to the specific types of beverages a woman drinks, let alone isolating out important variables like sugar intake.

Details of This Study:

The team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston prospectively studied the beverage intakes and outcomes for 340 IVF patients. The clinicians meticulously characterized both beverage volume and type and accounted for not just interim outcomes (e.g. number of oocytes retrieved) but went all the way to live birth rate (LBR) per cycle, which we consider to be crucial.

What the Study Showed

Women who consumed one cup of sugarated soda per day had dramatically lower numbers of oocytes created, quality embryos produced, and in turn, significantly lower live birth rates (12 - 16% lower on an absolute basis, which is meaningful) per cycle. The findings comfortably met statistical significance and yet this effect was not seen with diet soda.

While other beverages like caffeinated tea, energy drinks and instant coffee were linked with fewer eggs retrieved or fertilized, their consumption did not correlate with any decreased likelihood of success during IVF. In addition, the investigators concluded increased consumption of caffeinated beverages did not impact IVF success rates. While this was something of a surprise, it’s now the third major study that has arrived at a similar conclusion.

Study Limitations

The issues with this study are that the patient population may not represent the general IVF population. The average age of this population was 32 years old with a low BMI (23). What’s more, within some categories of beverage consumption (e.g. energy drinks) the sample size was low (fewer than 40 women studied) and so teasing out an effect (if one exists) is challenging. That said, this is amongst the better conducted studies we’ve seen on the subject to date.

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