Fruit, Vegetable Consumption Impacts Sperm Function in IVF

Vegetarian diet lengthens lifespan
Vegetarian diet lengthens lifespan
Men who consume more fruits and vegetables have better in vitro fertilization rates, but pesticide residue can negatively affect sperm quality.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) rates may be better for men who eat more fruits and vegetables, but pesticide residue on these foods may negatively affect sperm quality, according to data presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 2014 Annual Meeting.

In the prospective cohort study, researchers had 155 men complete a food frequency questionnaire between 2007 and 2012. Low- or high-pesticide residue on the different fruits and vegetables consumed were determined based on U.S. Department of Agriculture Reports.

A total of 105 men in the study and their female partners underwent a total of 190 IVF cycles.

The researchers found no correlation between total fruit and vegetable intake as well as fruits and vegetables with low-pesticide residue. In comparison, men in the top quartile of high-residue fruit and vegetable consumption had a 70% lower motile sperm count (P for trend=.01) and 64% lower number of normally-shaped sperm (P for trend=.01) than men in the lowest quartile of high-residue fruit and vegetable consumption.

Among the 105 participants and their partners treated with IVF, greater total fruit and vegetable intake, including more low-residue fruits and vegetables, had better fertilization rates with conventional insemination (P for trend=.03), but not with intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (P for trend=.71), the researchers reported.

They also noted that this association was largely driven by consumption of low-residue fruits and vegetables. In particular, adjusted IVF fertilization rates by increasing quartile of low-residue fruits and vegetables consumption were 0.60, 0.60, 0.75 and 0.88, respectively (P for trend=.04).

“Men who want to optimize their reproductive health need to take care to choose fruits and vegetables grown with lower levels of pesticides, which are less contaminated. Nutrition is important to good reproductive health, but food that is good for you can contain other substances, not so good for you,” Paul J. Turek, MD, FACS, president of the Society for Male Reproduction and Infertility, said in a press release.


  1. Chiu YH et al. Abstract O-20. Presented at: American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) 2014 Annual Meeting; Oct. 18-22, 2014; Honolulu.