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To Maximize Fertility, Men Should Minimize Bacon Consumption

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Bacon and IVF

If you and your partner have decided to seek medical assistance to help get pregnant, your doctor may have handed you a list of “lifestyle” instructions to follow to enhance the success of your treatment using assisted reproductive technologies (ART).

Now, along with not smoking, drinking less and maintaining a healthy weight, comes word that men should step away from the bacon to maximize their fertility.

A new – and admittedly, small – research study from the Harvard School of Public Health found a difference in the fertilization rates of sperm between men who consumed more processed meats such as bacon, sausage and canned meat and those that did not. After collecting detailed information on diet and tracking outcomes for 141 men, research showed processed meat consumption affects sperm fertilization for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) but had no effect in cycles using intra-cytoplasmic-sperm-injection (ICSI)

While the research does not prove a direct cause and effect, men who consumed a lot of processed meats had poorer results: the fertilization rate for IVF without ICSI was 28 percent higher among men who ate the least amount of processed meat than among those who ate the most processed meat (82 percent versus 54 percent). There was no difference in success rates in IVF with ICSI or a link between men’s total meat intake and embryo implantation, pregnancy or live birth rates.

Many studies do show a relationship between healthy diets and reproductive success — although the explanation for why different food groups make a difference are not well understood. So, when your focus is on having a baby, the bacon and Spam should take a back seat. Better yet, as a new parent, model healthy eating behavior so you can be around for the babies of your babies.


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