1. Nutrition and Fertility

  1. Emma Derbyshire BSc, PhD, RNutr

Published Online: 6 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch1

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

Nutrition in the Childbearing Years

How to Cite

Derbyshire, E. (2011) Nutrition and Fertility, in Nutrition in the Childbearing Years, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, West Sussex, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444344790.ch1

Author Information

  1. Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Human Nutrition, Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 6 OCT 2011
  2. Published Print: 30 SEP 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444333053

Online ISBN: 9781444344790



  • nutrition;
  • female fertility;
  • male fertility;
  • infertility;
  • pregnancy


Although genetic and medical conditions may both be common causes of infertility (and subfertility), research shows that certain dietary factors may also affect the chances of conceiving. Over the last few decades, a growing body of literature has been published in this area. There is some evidence to suggest that high alcohol and caffeine intakes and low intakes of antioxidants may be associated with reduced fertility. Equally, both ends of the energy spectrum (under- and overnutrition) appear to have an unfavourable impact on fertility status. For individuals who are overweight or obese, achieving a healthy body weight may help to improve both fertility and the success of reproductive treatments. Overall, simple lifestyle changes such as monitoring alcohol and caffeine intakes and obtaining a healthy body weight are a good start to any pregnancy, as well as helping to improve fertility levels. Imparting these messages to men and women in their child-bearing years may help to reduce time to conception and is always worth trying before seeking fertility treatments, which can sometimes be expensive. For those undergoing assisted reproductive technologies, dietary advice may also be effective alongside these treatments when couples are having difficulties conceiving.