The evolution of matrotrophy introduces the potential for genomic conflicts between mothers and embryos. These conflicts are hypothesized to accelerate the evolution of reproductive isolation and to influence the evolution of life-history traits, reproductive structures, and genomic imprinting. These hypotheses assume offspring can influence the amount of maternal investment they receive and that there is a trade-off between maternal investment into individual offspring and maternal survival or fecundity. We used field data and laboratory crosses to test whether these assumptions are met in the matrotrophic poeciliid fish Heterandria formosa. Comparisons of life histories between two natural populations demonstrated a trade-off between the level of maternal investment into individual embryos and maternal fecundity. Laboratory crosses between individuals from these populations revealed that offspring genotype exerts an influence on the level of maternal investment and affects maternal fecundity through higher rates of embryo abortion and lower numbers of full-term offspring. Our results show that the prerequisites for parent–offspring conflict to be a potent evolutionary force in poeciliid fish are present in H. formosa. However, determining whether this conflict has shaped maternal investment in nature will require disentangling any effects of conflict from those of several ecological factors that are themselves correlated with the expected intensity of conflict.