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It’s Ramadan soon. What about my IVF treatment?

Demeter Fertility respects the opportunity for those patients who wish to observe Ramadan. This year Ramadan starts on June 18 with Eid al-Fitr on Saturday, the 18th of July. However does fasting affect your chances of conceiving during IVF, and is it worth waiting until alter Eid to start a treatment cycle? 


Demeter Fertility respects the opportunity for those patients who wish to observe Ramadan. This year Ramadan starts on June 18 with Eid al-Fitr on Saturday, the 18th of July. However does fasting affect your chances of conceiving during IVF, and is it worth waiting until alter Eid to start a treatment cycle?

Well basically there is not much data to answer this question from a medical and health perspective. In fact I could not find any published data about the effects of fasting on IVF treatment outcomes. So I had a look at some of the publisher papers on the effects of Ramadan in pregnancy, and then some feedback from a religious perspective.

Many pregnant Muslim women fast during Ramadan. In one study, important reproductive hormones including FSH, LH, oestrogen, progesterone and leptin were measured in the first, second and fourth week of Ramadan and the second week post-Ramadan, in 30 fasting pregnant women. Whilst the weight and BMI did not change, there was a significant change in FSH, oestrogen, progesterone and leptin. The lowest value of FSH was in the second week of Ramadan. Progesterone increased at the end of Ramadan and the second week after. Oestrogen increased significantly during Ramadan and decreased after Ramadan. Poor weight gain and hypoleptinaemia in pregnant fasted women was found during the study. Food restriction in pregnant fasted women during Ramadan may induce poor weight gain during pregnancy and it may be that Ramadan fasting by pregnant women can have potential risks during pregnancy. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24914688

Published studies after this show that Ramadan fasting had no serious adverse effect on offspring of pregnant women. The effect of fasting during Ramadan on the immune system is favorable and Ramadan fasting has no impact on kidney function and urine component. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25538785 

In a further study, pregnant Muslim women residing in the UK who fasted during Ramadan differed by social, demographic and lifestyle characteristics compared to their non-fasting peers, but fasting was not found to be associated with adverse birth outcomes. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25261183

And finally, some feedback at the religious level, a woman doing IVF may abstain from fasting upon the advice of a reliable doctor. Fatwa Date: Ramadan 29, 1435 / 27-7-2014

Question - Alsalam alikom. My question is medical and religious at the same time, I am currently doing IVF would be the return of the embryos at the beginning of Ramadan insha Allaah and the duration of fasting we have in Britain is about 19 hours advised by the medical team that I deal with him not to fast until the outcome of pregnancy around 12 days," but they are non-Muslims" because fasting can affect the success of the pregnancy, I asked more than a doctor who specializes and Muslim "by the internet" someone advised me not to fasting and two they said to me depends on your tolerance for fasting. But this is not clear for me. No body can fast that much hours without feeling thirsty and tired. My medical question is: Does actually fasting for such long hours affect the success of the pregnancy? I take thyroxine 100 daily, what is the best time to take it during Ramadan noted that for breakfast about 4 hours only? My religious question is: Is it permissible for me breakfast in this case? jzakom Allah khairan

Answer - All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad, is His slave and messenger.

It is permissible for you to abstain from fasting given your health condition, if a reliable doctor has advised you to do so and informed you that fasting would harm you or your fetus. Similarly, it is permissible for you to abstain from fasting if you know from experience that it would cause you harm. If doctors held different opinions regarding the effect of fasting on your health condition, you should follow the advice of the one who is most reliable in your view.  

Allaah Knows best. http://www.islamweb.net/emainpage/index.php?page=showfatwa&Option=FatwaId&Id=260905

Demeter Fertility continues the usual operations and working hours during Ramadan and will be pleased to proceed with treatment at your request. 

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