July 11, 2014

The Link between Folic Acid and Female and Male FertilityIn addition to offering exceptional-quality fertility solutions such as in vitro fertilization, The Fertility Institute is renowned for bringing together some of the nation’s most learned and experienced experts in fertility into a single practice. This allows us to provide patient education that is several cuts above what might be expected at the average fertility center.

One of the reasons our fertility clinic has such a strong record of success throughout the years is that our patients truly understand fertility and the ways that they can help to improve their odds of achieving successful pregnancy. At our practice in New Orleans, folic acid is just one of the many topics on which we make sure our patients are well educated. When it comes to promoting fertility, not to mention a healthy pregnancy resulting in a healthy child, folic acid is an absolute necessity.

What Is Folic Acid?

Folic acid is a synthetic form of vitamin B9, one of a group of eight water-soluble vitamins that are fundamental to cell metabolism. In its naturally occurring form, vitamin B9 is known as folate. Foods that are high in folate content include spinach, asparagus, pumpkin, oysters, carrots, okra, broccoli, and liver. Other foods that have folate include beans, rice, poultry, meat, eggs, nuts, and dairy products.

Folic acid is added to many foods, such as breads, cereals, pastas, rice, and other grain-based foods. It is likewise commonly available in nutritional supplements.

Folic Acid and Female Fertility

Folic acid can have a powerful effect on female fertility. In fact, specially formulated folic acid supplements are generally recommended to women who are planning to become pregnant, whether they struggle with infertility issues or not. These supplements, along with foods rich in folate and folic acid, should be regularly taken immediately upon the decision to pursue pregnancy, and preferably several months before conception occurs.

A folic acid regimen is particularly important to women with fertility problems, not only because it promotes fertility, but also because stress causes the body to need more folate. Once pregnancy is achieved, folic acid remains essential, particularly during the first trimester, as it reduces the risk of miscarriage and congenital defects.

Although it is rare that someone would suffer ill effects from taking too much folic acid, it remains a possibility. Therefore, it is extremely important to use folic acid as part of your fertility plan exactly as recommended by our doctors.

Folic Acid and Male Fertility

In recent years, there have been multiple studies demonstrating a link between folic acid intake and male fertility. Folic acid can actually improve the quality of a man’s sperm while lowering the risk of sperm abnormalities that could interfere with conception. In particular, a study led by Dr. Wai Yee Wong of the University Medical Center Nijmegen in the Netherlands found that men struggling with male factor infertility who had been taking folic acid and zinc supplements for 26 weeks experienced a 74 percent increase in the amount of normal sperm in their semen.

Learn More about the Importance of Folic Acid to Fertility

To learn more about the role that folic acid plays in conception, or to schedule your initial consultation with one of our renowned fertility specialists, please contact The Fertility Institute today.