The aim of this study was to determine whether postpartum variations of plasma IGF-1 and IGFBP concentrations, oocyte production and quality were related to parity and subsequent conception rate in Holstein dairy cows. Holstein dairy cows [10 primiparous (PP) and 22 multiparous (MP)] were allotted in six batches and sampled once weekly between calving and oestrous synchronization treatment started at 71.2 ± 2.0 days postpartum. During the 3 weeks before treatment, ovum pick-up (OPU) was performed twice weekly. Oocytes were scored on a 4-point scale, and oocytes from OPU1, 3 and 5 were fertilized in vitro. Seventeen cows became pregnant after first and second AI and were considered as fertile (F), while the others were considered to be subfertile (SF). Logistic regression was carried out to investigate the relationships between repeated measurements and fertility including parity and batch effects in the models. Likelihood of fertility significantly increased when plasma urea and IGFBP-3 concentrations decreased and was higher in PP compared with MP cows. There was a trend for fertility to increase when plasma IGF-1 concentrations increased (p = 0.07). In vitro cleavage and development rates were similar between SF and F cows (46.4% and 28.3% in SF vs 55.0% and 22.1% in F). Parity had an effect on plasma IGF-1 concentrations (PP: 61.65 ± 2.67 vs MP: 41.63 ± 5.81 ng/ml, p < 0.001), mean number of follicles aspirated per session (PP: 5.7 ± 1.3 vs MP: 9.5 ± 0.8, p < 0.05) and fertility (PP: 8/10 = 80% vs MP: 9/22 = 41%, p < 0.05) but not on the number of oocytes recovered per session nor their quality. In conclusion, postpartum plasma urea and IGFBP-3 concentrations, but not oocyte production and quality before breeding, were related to subsequent conception rate in our experimental design. Parity had a significant effect on energy status, follicular growth and fertility and needs to be considered when investigating relationships between nutrition and reproduction.