Bacon and cold-cut lovers, take note: A new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found a connection between consumption of processed meats and male fertility.

The study followed 141 couples who were undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), a technique in which a woman’s egg is removed from the uterus and fertilized with sperm in a laboratory, then transported back into the woman’s body to develop. Researchers took note of how much and what type of meat males consumed while undergoing IVF, and how much of that meat was processed.

The couples whose husbands had consumed the least amount of processed meat held an 82% success rate in IVF, while those who had diets heavy in bacon, sausage, and other delicious processed meats had a fertilization rate of 54%.

A photo posted by Lynn Wolsted (@lynniewolsted) on

Those who consumed large amounts of chicken fared better than their meat-eating friends that did not. According to the study, men who ate more poultry had fertilization rates 13% higher than those that didn’t.  

Dr. Rebecca Sokol of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine states,

“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. This study suggests that the type of meat a man consumes may influence his sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg.”

While there was no correlation between the amount of meat consumed and overall fertility, men should still be weary of their overall meat consumption. Cancer Prevention Research found that a diet rich in eggs, red meat, and poultry might increase the risk of prostate cancer.

[via The Huffington Post, Health Day]