London - Eating avocados and dressing salads with olive oil could help women trying to have a baby through IVF, researchers claim.

Foods typically eaten as part of the Mediterranean diet may triple the chances of success for women having fertility treatment.

A study found monounsaturated fat – found in olive oil, sunflower oil, nuts and seeds – was better than any other kind of dietary fat for would-be mothers. Those who ate the highest amounts were 3.4 times more likely to have a child after IVF than those who ate the lowest amounts.

In contrast, women who ate mostly saturated fat, found in butter and red meat, produced fewer good eggs for use in fertility treatment.

US experts behind the study believe monounsaturated fats – which are already known to protect the heart – could improve fertility by lowering inflammation in the body.

The study was presented at the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Istanbul. It was carried out at Harvard School of Public Health, funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

Study leader Professor Jorge Chavarro said: “The best kinds of food to eat are avocados, which have a lot of monounsaturated fat and low levels of other sorts of fat, and olive oil.”

He said the study was small, but the findings merited further investigation. “While these results are interesting, this is the first time to our knowledge that dietary fats have been linked to treatment outcome in IVF,” he said.

In separate study, researchers found that drinking five or more cups of coffee a day could halve the chances of IVF success for women.

Dr Ulrik Schioler Kesmodel from the Fertility Clinic of Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark, who led the study of 4,000 women, said: “Although we were not surprised that coffee consumption appears to affect pregnancy rates, we were surprised at the magnitude of the effect.”

He said the harmful effect appeared to be due to the presence of caffeine, and consequently advised women having IVF to limit their intake of cola and tea as well. - Daily Mail