Pineapple Core, McDonald's Fries, and Other IVF Superstitions
If you are on an IVF journey, you may have heard of a few IVF traditions like eating french fries after a transfer. How did these old wives’ tales come about, and do they actually work? In this guide, we dive into the details.
By IVF warrior and women's health expert Halle Tecco, MPH, MBA
If you are on an IVF journey, you may have heard of a few IVF traditions like eating french fries after a transfer. How did these old wives’ tales come about, and do they actually work? Let’s dive into the most common IVF traditions and superstitions.
If you haven’t noticed, the pineapple is the unofficial symbol of IVF. A quick search for IVF gear on Etsy returns a plethora of socks, journals, and other gifts all adorned by this friendly-looking fruit (which just so happens to also be a symbol of southern hospitality in Natalist’s homebase, Charleston, SC).
Folklore has it that it’s good luck to eat pineapple before an embryo transfer. Why is that? Research suggests that bromelain, an enzyme mixture present in the pineapple, is an anti-inflammatory agent. This could possibly help with embryo implantation, but there’s no research to back that up. Dr. Tomer Singer, a reproductive endocrinologist told the New York Times:
“There’s no evidence in the literature that says consuming pineapple prior to an embryo transfer will improve implantation.”
That being said, pineapple is a safe, healthy choice so there’s no harm in chowing down!
If you look around at the feet of fellow patients in the waiting room, you may notice cute socks being adorned. There is no evidence that wearing warm socks improves IVF outcomes, but it sure does make the procedures more comfortable. I opted for cute socks that I’d want to wear for years to come. But you can find a plethora of IVF-related socks (with sperm, eggs, cute sayings, etc.) all over the internet.
Eating french fries after a transfer has become a tradition. It’s unclear how it started, but it likely spun out of advice for women at risk for OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome). Some doctors advise women at high risk of OHSS to eat a high-sodium and high-protein diet after their retrieval. And McDonald’s fries check both of those boxes.
This one is a personal choice. If you are at risk for OHSS, you should definitely follow your doctor’s nutritional advice. If they suggest something salty, know that there are options other than french fries (popcorn? edamame? kettle chips?). But if french fries are your thing, then by all means you deserve them!
Do you have a favorite superstition or tradition for embryo transfer that was not on our list that you swear by? We’d love to hear about it! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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IVF can be an amazing way to grow a family. I know—I would not be a mother today without IVF. But it also comes with emotional ups and downs. If you want to learn more about fertility treatments, sign up for my personal IVF newsletter. 💌