Food & Drink

Bacon and Sausage Might Be Killing Your Sperm

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Delicious processed meats like sausage and bacon might be taking the sizzle out of your fertility, guys.

After analyzing the diets of men involved in fertility treatment, researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston found that men who like to chow down on processed meats had lower rates of success with in vitro fertilization than men who don't like to, say, crush a whole plate of bacon, CBS News reported. And while exactly how certain meats affected the men's fertility is still unclear, the researchers also found that eating lots of poultry resulted in better rates of successful fertilization. So, as Leeloo once said, "Chicken... good!"

Here's what you need to know:

  • Guys who stayed away from processed meats had a 28% higher fertilization rate with IVF than guys who ate said meats regularly; specifically, 82% versus 54%, according to the report.
  • Guys who ate lots of poultry saw a 13% higher fertilization rate than guys who didn't eat much poultry. 
  • However, successful fertilization through IVF was not affected by the total amount of meat the men consumed.
  • Eating lots of processed meats didn't affect success rates when the ICSI fertilization technique (when one sperm is injected into an egg) was used. 


Experts are still trying to figure out why bacon and making babies apparently don't go hand in hand, but say it likely comes down to how healthy your diet is in general, rather than how much sausage you stuff into your face.

“Many studies have shown that diet can affect human fertility, but our diets are so complex that it is difficult to tease out how particular food types may affect reproductive outcomes," said Dr. Rebecca Sokol, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in a press release. "This study suggests that the type of meat a man consumes may influence his sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg. Eating a healthy diet is an easy change to make, and worth making for reproductive health as well as overall health.”

So, if you're looking to reproduce, you might want to get in shape and maybe even put down that BLT.

Tony Merevick is Cities News Editor at Thrillist and eats quite a bit of bacon, but regrets nothing. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @tonymerevick.