The role of fatty acids in cardiovascular and overall health is well-established with supportive clinical research, but not everything is known about the vast roles these healthy fats play in the human body. Researchers from Tabriz, Iran recently studied a possible connection between the outcome of assisted reproduction treatments (ART) and pregnancy outcome. According to the research, fatty acids play a significant role in positive ART outcomes.

Samples of follicular fluid were taken from 100 women seeking reproductive assistance at the Tabriz Alzahra Hospital. Seventy-nine of the women received IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and the remaining women received ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection).

Researchers found that saturated to polyunsaturated ratios could be indicative of assisted reproductive outcome with higher saturated fat levels leading to fewer mature oocytes and reduced pregnancy rates. Higher linoleic acid levels, on the other hand, had a positive impact on the outcome.

While more research is needed to properly identify ideal follicular liquid fatty acid levels, researchers are confident that testing phospholipid levels in follicular fluid could give doctors an idea of possible ART outcome.

Source: Shaaker M, Rahimipour A, Nouri M, Khanaki K, Darabi M, Farzadi L, Shahnazi V, Mehdizadeh A. Fatty Acid composition of human follicular fluid phospholipids and fertilization rate in assisted reproductive techniques. Iran Biomed J. 2012 Jul;16(3):162-8.