I’ve always thought of myself as quite a medically savvy person. I’m healthy and have established positive habits in my life. However, going through IVF had me questioning just about everything – can I drink matcha green tea during IVF treatment?
In the following blog post, I share my story of going through IVF — and why I believe drinking matcha helped increase and support my IVF success.
What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) offers hope to individuals and couples grappling with infertility, aiming to make parenthood a reality. IVF, which falls under the umbrella of assisted reproductive technology (ART), involves the retrieval of eggs from a woman’s ovaries, followed by fertilization with sperm in a laboratory setting.
The fertilized egg, known as an embryo, can then be transferred to a woman’s uterus in the pursuit of pregnancy or cryopreserved (frozen) for later use. Additionally, women may also choose to go through an egg retrieval cycle and freeze their eggs for later use.
The physical and emotional demands of IVF
IVF is a financially, emotionally and physically demanding process. Given the stakes, it’s natural to seek strategies for success in the hopes of only going through this process once. When we began our IVF journey, I fully committed myself to research, exploring topics ranging from diet’s impact on egg quality to the role of exercise and even caffeine consumption.
I found that, due to the high stakes, advice often leaned towards caution, even in the absence of substantial research. Above it all, and this was most certainly true for us, it became evident that individuals facing fertility challenges are eager to explore any avenue that might enhance their prospects of a baby.
It's important to emphasize that experiences with IVF, and fertility treatments in general are highly individualized. All in all our IVF journey has taken about 5 months.
The stages of IVF for a frozen embryo transfer are as follows:
- Initial consultation
- Baseline testing
- Ovarian Stimulation
- Egg Retrieval
- PGT-A Genetic Testing
- Embryo Transfer
- Pregnancy Test
Does matcha help with egg quality?
Prior to beginning our IVF journey, it was important to me to prioritize my health so that I could start this journey from the best mental, emotional and physical place as possible. It takes about 3 months for an egg to mature, so about 3-months prior to conception or the start of IVF is the ideal time to make changes to diet and lifestyle in order to improve egg quality.
For me, this involved reducing alcohol consumption, managing stress (a daunting task given the challenges of infertility), staying physically active, eating a healthy diet, and of course enjoying matcha.
Why matcha may have increased and supported my IVF success
Matcha is known for its high concentration of antioxidants, particularly catechins and polyphenols. Antioxidants can help protect cells from oxidative stress, which may play a role in maintaining reproductive health, balancing hormones and reducing inflammation. Additionally, matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid linked to both relaxation and stress reduction.
Studies have also supported female-specific benefits to drinking matcha daily.
How matcha helped me with stress during fertility struggles
Given the stress I felt from our fertility struggles, this held particular significance for me. In addition to the physical benefits of matcha, there’s also the ritual of making a warm cup of tea that can feel particularly soothing. The act of heating water, sifting and then whisking matcha is almost meditative. It can help calm nerves and increase mindfulness. I started each day knowing that I had just done something positive for my body.
Studies also show drinking matcha may support helping the body combat depression and boost mood.
While the entire infertility journey is difficult, I can easily say that the ovarian stimulation (STIMS) and egg retrieval were by far the most physically and emotionally demanding. STIMS, egg retrieval, and recovery post egg retrieval spanned about six weeks and was when the benefits of matcha were the most crucial.
During a typical menstrual cycle, a single egg matures and is released by the ovaries. In contrast, IVF involves administering hormones to stimulate the maturation of multiple eggs. This increases the likelihood of obtaining mature eggs, and then having those mature eggs successfully fertilize and develop into embryos. During STIMS, I had to inject a blend of hormones that left me feeling fatigued, bloated, emotional and anxious.
Why matcha was a better choice for me during IVF than coffee
I have a particularly strong reaction to coffee and caffeine in general and I knew that drinking coffee would only exacerbate these symptoms. It’s recommended that you stay under 200 mg of caffeine when you’re pregnant and during IVF. Since matcha powder has lower levels of caffeine it was easy to incorporate the tea into my day without going anywhere near that recommended limit.
Drinking pineapple juice with matcha to alleviate bloating from IVF
The drinks I loved the most while going through IVF were pineapple juice mixed with matcha to alleviate bloating, matcha lattes to combat fatigue and a matcha electrolyte mix to make sure I was staying hydrated. Proper hydration is important during IVF and turned out to be especially crucial for me as I was going through it during peak summer heat. The matcha electrolyte blend was particularly important later on in my journey as well.
How matcha aid was particularly good at helping me stay hydrated during egg retrieval
After I survived the roughly two weeks of daily injections, blood work and ultrasounds it came time for my egg retrieval. The days leading up to my egg retrieval I was advised to stay hydrated and drink electrolytes. Electrolytes are crucial for regulating pH levels, proper nerve and muscle function, rebuilding damaged tissue and hydrating the body. An imbalance of electrolytes can greatly impact health and can even lead to death.
Medical procedures, such as an egg retrieval, may cause fluid imbalances due to anesthesia, minor trauma, and the natural inflammation response. During an egg retrieval cycle excess fluid can also accumulate in your ovaries. Drinking electrolytes post egg retrieval may help balance everything out and keep your body from holding onto all that excess fluid.
For some, it may also be a helpful way to combat constipation and bloating from the excess fluid accumulation. I flat out refuse to drink most electrolyte drinks as I can’t stand the taste or added ingredients. I was so thankful to have the matcha tea and electrolyte blend — known as matcha aid — as I truly love the taste and knew there was no artificial colors or sweeteners. It was easy for me to stay hydrated and keep my electrolytes in check.
While this is only a small part of my infertility journey, it was an important one. When going through something like this, I found that every action mattered. Matcha helped me feel healthy, strong, calm and relaxed and also proved to be beneficial during my recovery after the hormones.
The bottom line | Matcha helped me in my IVF journey. Consider speaking to your healthcare provider about drinking matcha during IVF
It's important to note that while matcha holds promise as a potential adjunct to fertility treatments and IVF, its effects are not yet fully understood or scientifically validated. As with any complementary approach, individuals considering incorporating matcha into their fertility journey should consult with their healthcare providers to ensure that it aligns with their specific medical situation and treatment plan.
As research continues to unfold, a clearer picture of matcha's potential role in supporting fertility treatments will likely emerge, shedding light on its benefits and limitations in this context.
Learn more about:
Shrimanker I, Bhattarai S. Electrolytes. [Updated 2023 Apr 23]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541123/