Lifestyle behaviors in women undergoing in vitro fertilization: a prospective study

Women undergoing an assisted reproductive technology cycle reported some surprising lifestyle habits, including a 12% prevalence of taking herbs while cycling.

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Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., Lisa Conboy, Sc.D., Julia Denardo-Roney, Kristin L. Rooney, B.A.

Vol 97, Issue 3, Pages 697-701.e1



To determine the lifestyle behaviors of women before and during an IVF cycle.


Prospective survey.


Private academically affiliated infertility center.


One hundred eighteen women, ages 18–44, scheduled to undergo an assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycle using their own eggs.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Lifestyle history and daily habit survey.


In the month before their IVF cycle, 92% exercised, 3% smoked, 73% drank alcohol, 76% drank caffeinated beverages, 14% took herbs, and 30% underwent acupuncture. During their ART cycle, 100% exercised, 2% smoked, 49% drank alcohol, 77% drank caffeine, 12% took herbs, and 47% underwent acupuncture.


This is the first prospective assessment of numerous lifestyle habits during an ART cycle. A number of surprising observations were made. Despite physician recommendation against it, some ART patients took herbs while cycling. Patients continue to exercise regularly and drink caffeine daily, and almost half continued to drink alcohol. Lifestyle behavior counseling should be considered for patients pursuing ART.

Clinical Trial Registration Number:

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.