Vitamin D to Boost IVF Baby Chances

Women undergoing IVF more likely to become pregnant with sufficient levels of vitamin D

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Women attempting to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF) must undergo many tests and procedures. Checking on vitamin D levels may be something worth including in this regime.

A recent study found that women with sufficient levels of vitamin D were more likely to become pregnant than those with insufficient levels.

The women in this study were attempting to become pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF). This procedure involves fertilizing a woman's eggs outside of her body. Then the eggs are transferred to her uterus in the hopes they will implant and result in a pregnancy.

This study's results showed that women who had very low levels of vitamin D in their blood had greater difficulty becoming pregnant with IVF.

"Ask your fertility doctor about vitamins."

The study, led by Kimberley Garbedian, MD, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, looked at whether women's vitamin D levels were related to their success with IVF.

The authors examined the vitamin D levels in 173 women who underwent IVF at Mount Sinai Hospital in Ontario, Canada.

Their vitamin D levels had been measured one week before the women's eggs had been extracted for use in the IVF procedures.

Women with vitamin D levels at or above 75 nmol/L were considered to have sufficient levels of the nutrient. Levels below 75 nmol/L were considered insufficient.

The researchers then took into account characteristics of the women in an analysis of how many became pregnant, based on ultrasounds taken four to five weeks after the embryos had been transferred to the women.

Among the sample of women, about 55 percent had insufficient levels of vitamin D and about 45 percent had sufficient levels.

Only a third of the women (34.7 percent) with insufficient levels became pregnant, compared to about half (52.5 percent) of the women who had sufficient levels of vitamin D.

Women with a higher body mass index (BMI) were more likely to have insufficient levels. Body mass index is a ratio of a person's height to weight. It is used to determine whether someone has a healthy weight.

After these findings had been adjusted to account for the women's age, weight and date of embryo transfer, the analysis still revealed that women with sufficient levels of vitamin D were more likely to become pregnant than those with insufficient levels.

"Vitamin D supplementation could provide an easy and cost-effective way of improving pregnancy rates," the authors wrote, though they added that more research is necessary. The authors wrote that it is unclear how vitamin D might affect fertility.

This study was published June 28 in the journal CMAJ Open.

The research was funded by the Centre for Fertility and Reproductive Health's Fellowship Research Fund. Two authors have received funding for a different study from Ferring Canada.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 3, 2013
Last Updated:
July 30, 2013