In recent years, there has been a growing debate about the correlation between diet and infertility. Independent weight and body mass index, poor eating habits are associated with the possible occurrence of infertility in both women and men.

The literature on the relationship between diet and human fertility has greatly expanded over the last decade, resulting in the identification of a few clear patterns. Intake of supplemental folic acid, has been consistently related to lower frequency of infertility, lower risk of pregnancy loss, and greater success in infertility treatment. On the other hand and despite promising evidence from animal models, vitamin D does not appear to exert an important role in human fertility in the absence of deficiency. Antioxidant supplementation does not appear to offer any benefits to women undergoing infertility treatment, but it appears to be beneficial when it is the male partner who is supplemented. However, the available evidence does not allow discerning which specific antioxidants, or at which doses, are responsible for this benefit. Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids appear to improve female fertility, although it remains unclear to what extent contamination of shared food sources, such as fish with high levels of environmental toxicants, can dampen this benefit. Lastly, adherence to healthy diets favoring seafood, poultry, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are related to better fertility in women and better semen quality in men. Dairy and soy, once proposed as reproductive toxicants, have not been consistently related to poor fertility. In fact, soy and soy supplements appear to exert a beneficial effect among women undergoing infertility treatment. Similarly, because data from large, high-quality studies continue to accumulate, the evidence of a potentially deleterious effect of moderate alcohol and caffeine intake on the ability to become pregnant seems less solid than it once did.

Despite the increasing evidence of the impact of diet on human fertility, few studies have examined the impact of this association on the United States (US). High-fat diets, whole grains, vegetables, and fish have been associated with improved fertility in both women and men, saturated fats and sugar have been associated with poorer fertility effects in women and men. In addition, women and men with obesity (body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg / m) have a higher risk of infertility. This risk extends to women with degraded weight (BMI <20 kg / m2). Diet and BMI affect the results during clinical treatment for infertility.


While a complete picture of the role of nutrition on fertility is far from complete, much progress has been made. The most salient gaps in the current evidence include jointly considering female and male diets and testing the most consistent findings in randomized trials. Proper and balanced diet helps to boost fertility through essential nutrients for the body. Micronutrients play a very important role in keeping a woman pregnant – both naturally and through assisted reproduction.Given the positive effect of healthy eating on fertility results, clinicians should advise on improving dietary behaviors between patients who have access to assisted reproduction services.


written by:
Fei Pakaki – fertility midwife 

Eleni Katsiani – biologist