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Nutrition for Fertility: A Comprehensive Guide

Nutrition for Fertility: A Comprehensive Guide


Fertility can be influenced by numerous factors ranging from medical conditions such as endometriosis and PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome), lifestyle habits, age and a host of other contributory factors. In addressing fertility concerns or infertility, the significant role that nutrition plays in improving our fertility is often overlooked. This blog post delves into how the right foods can improve fertility in both men and women.

Understanding Fertility Challenges

Infertility is the medical term for when you can't get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year, for most couples. Infertility can affect anyone and has many causes. Types of infertility include:

  • Primary infertility: According to the World Health Organisation, Primary Infertility is when a pregnancy has never been achieved by a person and it can also refer to couples who have not become pregnant after at least 1 year having sex without using birth control methods (for those 35 years or older, the time frame can be reduced to a 6 month period of unprotected sex.)
  • Secondary infertility: Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to conceive or carry a baby to term, having previously giving birth.
  • Unexplained infertility: Fertility testing hasn’t found a reason that a person or couple is unable to get pregnant.

There are many causes of infertility, and sometimes, there isn’t a simple answer as to why you’re not getting pregnant. While causes of infertility vary, studies show that:

  • 33% of infertility involves the female partner,
  • 33% of infertility involves the male partner,
  • 33% of infertility involves an unexplained diagnosis,
  • And 25% of infertile couples have more than one factor that contributes to their infertility.

Female Fertility Challenges 

Before diving into any plan to improve your fertility, it's essential to recognise some common fertility challenges. In Women:

  • Endometriosis: A condition where tissue similar to the lining inside the uterus grows outside the uterus. Common endometriosis symptoms include painful periods and discomfort.
  • PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome): A hormonal disorder causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts. PCOS symptoms often include menstrual irregularities and excessive hair growth.
  • Fibroids: Also known as uterine fibroids, these are noncancerous growths of the uterus that often appear during childbearing years. Fibroids symptoms can range from heavy menstrual bleeding to pelvic pain.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: This can result from conditions like early menopause symptoms, leading to decreased fertility.

For conditions like endometriosis, PCOS, and fibroids, timely diagnosis and treatment are essential. It's also crucial to be aware of potential signs of miscarriage or a missed miscarriage for those who are pregnant.

Male Fertility Challenges 

Male fertility is a complex process. To get your partner pregnant, the following must occur:

  • You must produce healthy sperm. Initially, this involves the growth and formation of the male reproductive organs during puberty. At least one of your testicles must be functioning correctly, and your body must produce testosterone and other hormones to trigger and maintain sperm production.
  • Sperm have to be carried into the semen. Once sperm are produced in the testicles, delicate tubes transport them until they mix with semen and are ejaculated out of the penis.
  • There needs to be enough sperm in the semen. If the number of sperm in your semen (sperm count) is low, it decreases the odds that one of your sperm will fertilise your partner's egg. A low sperm count is fewer than 15 million sperm per millilitre of semen or fewer than 39 million per ejaculate.
  • Sperm must be functional and able to move. If the movement (motility) or function of your sperm is abnormal, the sperm may not be able to reach or penetrate your partner's egg.

The Role of Nutrition in Fertility

The 'American Pregnancy Association' states; Preconception nutrition research has shown that food and healthy nutrition are tied to fertility health in both women and men.

The Harvard Fertility Diet showed us, on a large scale that nutrition and nutrient intake, coupled with lifestyle advice, can improve fertility significantly. Over 80% of the 17,000+ women improved their fertility in a number of months. This should be the first port of call for any and all treatments.

Individual nutrients have been shown to improve fertility over several decades. These nutrients have been shown to be incredibly safe and extremely well tolerated by the general public. In fact, some nutrients are known to be directly involved in sperm and egg creation. We saw this in our own clinical examination at Pillar Healthcare, where we improved the nutritional intake of infertile men and women - via diet and supplementation - to improve their fertility.

As the late, great, Dr. David Smallbone, M.B., Ch.B., L.R.C.P., M.R.C.S., M.F. Hom., F.C.O.H., a past President of the Food & Health Section of the Royal Society of Medicine (UK) said on examining the results from our ground-breaking clinical examination:

"In conclusion, I believe the report favourably shows that providing adequate nutritional materials can and does influence the body systems. It becomes apparent that important systems, such as the endocrine system (containing the reproductive system), can be affected by correct nutrition but it needs time and six months is not an unreasonable amount of time, especially when several years of nutritional abuse lie behind the problem. Unless the nutritional requirements of the body are specifically catered for, it is highly unlikely that full health can be expected…. It may be that, in most cases, very little else is required - except time."

Nutrition is considered a cornerstone of our reproductive health. A well-balanced diet and proper nutrition play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health and functioning of the reproductive system. Optimal nutritional intake can enhance egg and sperm quality, promote healthy ovulation, and improve the chances of successful conception. It also supports the development of a healthy pregnancy and contributes to the well-being of both the mother and the baby.

In addition to its direct impact on fertility, nutrition also plays a role in managing conditions that can affect reproductive health, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis. By maintaining a healthy weight, managing inflammation, and supporting hormonal balance through nutrition, individuals can positively influence their reproductive health.


Nutrition plays a vital role in fertility because it affects the overall health and functioning of the reproductive system. A well-balanced and nutritious diet can positively impact fertility in several ways. Nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids are essential for hormonal balance, sperm production, egg quality, and overall reproductive health.

A healthy diet can help regulate menstrual cycles, improve ovulation, and increase the chances of successful conception. It can also enhance sperm quality, motility, and count in males. Additionally, maintaining a healthy weight through proper nutrition is crucial, as being underweight or overweight can affect hormone levels and disrupt the menstrual cycle.

Incorporating nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats into your diet can provide the necessary nutrients for optimal fertility. It's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian who specialises in fertility nutrition to get personalised advice tailored to your specific needs.

While conditions like endometriosis and PCOS might be daunting, knowing what foods help with fertility and understanding treatments available, like endometriosis treatment or PCOS treatment, can make the journey easier. As you explore your fertility diet plan menu, remember that every person's needs are unique.

Remember, a well-nourished body often leads to a healthier reproductive system and can positively impact your fertility journey.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalised recommendations.


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