MONDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Women who are undergoing fertility treatment may be more likely to conceive if they get a good amount of protein in their diets, a small new study suggests.
The study, of 120 women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) at one medical center, found that those who ate plenty of protein and relatively few carbohydrates were more likely to become pregnant.
Among women who got at least 25 percent of their daily calories from protein, 67 percent became pregnant. That compared with 32 percent of women who had less protein in their diets. What's more, women who got plenty of protein and relatively few carbohydrates -- less than 40 percent of their calories -- had the highest pregnancy rate, at 80 percent.
Experts cautioned that the findings do not mean that women with fertility problems should load up on steak, eggs and butter. But they did agree that the results point to an important role of diet in a woman's chances of conceiving.
"I think the message to infertility patients is to pay attention to what you eat," said Dr. James Grifo, program director at the NYU Fertility Center in New York City, who was not involved in the study.
"There aren't many things you have control over when you're undergoing fertility treatment," Grifo said. "But what you eat is one."
He did caution against "overinterpreting" the findings, which are being presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, in New Orleans. Because this study was presented at a medical meeting, the data and conclusions should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The study group was a small, select group of women, Grifo said, and it's not clear precisely why women who ate more protein had a higher IVF success rate.
One reason, Grifo speculated, could be that women who eat a lot of protein
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