As part of the screening process, a new test has been added to measure Vitamin D levels in prospective surrogate mothers. If their level is less than 30, we are asking candidates to begin supplementation.
The American Pregnancy Association estimates that 40-60% of the entire U.S. population is vitamin D deficient, including reproductive-age women. Vitamin D deficiency tends to be more common among vegetarians, women with limited sun exposure who live in cold, northern climates and ethnic minorities, especially those with darker skin. However, belonging to one of these groups does not necessarily mean you are Vitamin D deficient, and, conversely, women with different characteristics can fail the test. In fact, many women living in sunny California have not made the ‘grade’ on this exam.
So don’t be disheartened if your levels are low. You have lots of company plus there are many steps you can take to improve them.
Why Are Adequate Vitamin D Levels So Important?
According to California Fertility Partners’ Dr. Guy Ringler, there are several compelling reasons to monitor Vitamin D levels:
The vitamin D story keeps getting more impressive. Low vitamin D levels in pregnancy are associated with increased pregnancy risks including gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and infections. A small study from USC showed that egg donor recipients with low Vitamin D levels had lower pregnancy rates compared to recipients with normal levels.
Other experts feel adequate Vitamin D levels help prevent premature labor and birth. Long-term, Vitamin D is essential for both immune and bone health. It is necessary for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus. Several research studies have indicated a link between low Vitamin D levels and an increased risk of certain types of cancers, autoimmune disease, neurologic disease, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease.
The Best Ways to Supplement Your Vitamin D Intake
You can add Vitamin D to your diet by consuming fortified milk or juice, fish oils, and vitamin supplements. Exposing yourself to sunlight allows your skin to produce it. Take supplements of at least 600 IU/day; the maximum safe upper level of intake is 4,000 IU/day. (WebMD)
Here is a list of foods that provide vitamin D:
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals
- Beef liver
- Egg yolks
Six ounces of cooked salmon has more than 600 international units (IU).
Get yourself tested at your next physical if you are considering becoming pregnant. Low vitamin D has caused delays in being able to do a transfer for up to three months! So let the sun shine on you for at least 20 minutes a day, soak in the Vitamin D and start taking a multivitamin so you will be fully prepared for the screening process.