Vitamin D deficiency could be a key fertility factor

A recent study released from the University of Curtin in Perth, WA, has shown that Vitamin D deficiency could essentially be a key factor in fertility struggles in couples undergoing IVF. The researchers analysed the cells of over 300 women undergoing fertility treatment and found that women who were deficient in vitamin D were less likely to develop mature eggs and would produce poor quality embryos.

Fertility First has recognised the importance of sufficient vitamin D levels not only in our female patients, but also our male patients for over 10 years and routinely test our patients’ vitamin D levels as part of our preliminary assessment and treatment programs.

Data presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in both 2018 and this year has supported these findings and reinforced our clinic’s position on the importance of vitamin D testing. Low levels of vitamin D in females trying to conceive have been strongly linked to miscarriage rates, poor embryo development and recurrent implantation failure.

Recent studies have also shown there is a significant association between semen quality and vitamin D levels in male patients undergoing fertility treatment. Data released at the European Congress of Endocrinology showed that low levels of vitamin D were linked to reduced sperm quality, and concentration.

It is estimated that between approximately 31-58% of Australians are deficient in vitamin D. Vitamin D is an important vitamin that is predominantly absorbed by the skin through sunlight and in addition to providing your body with strong bones and muscles, it has been shown to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, severe asthma in children and cancer.

So where can you get vitamin D? How much do you actually need to improve your sperm and embryo quality? It’s a very simple solution that can have a significant impact.

And where can you find vitamin D? Foods that are rich sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as tuna and salmon, cheese, egg yolks and orange juice. Vitamin D can also be found in mushrooms exposed to sunlight (some are commercially available) and you can also help boost your vitamin D intake by stepping outside and spending about 10-30 minutes in the sunshine. For guidelines as to how much vitamin D, you may want to check the Cancer Council’s resource.