Fertility NZ is a registered charity dedicated to providing information, support and advocacy to people experiencing fertility issues.

Weight and Nutrition

A snapshot

  • A healthy weight and good nutrition can improve your chances of conception
  • Men and women who are trying-to-conceive should follow a healthy, balanced diet – a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to be ideal for fertility
  • Weight and nutrition should ideally be optimised three months prior to conception, which is how long it takes for eggs and sperm to develop
  • Women should supplement with folic acid and iodine - most women need a folic acid supplement to achieve the levels known to reduce the chance of gross abnormalities such as spina bifida
  • Women with a BMI of more than 32 must lose weight in order to become eligible for publically funded fertility treatment
  • Ideal BMI for fertility is between 20 and 25
  • Obesity in men is associated with infertility by causing impaired semen quality, decreased libido and erectile dysfunction
  • In women obesity decreases fertility and may be associated with conditions such as PCOS, and can also impact pregnancy health
  • Low body weight can prevent normal ovulation and may also reflect a poor nutritional status which can ultimately affect the health of the pregnancy and baby

Lifestyle

Good preconception health can improve chances of conception, a healthy pregnancy and healthy child 

Maturation of the sperm and egg takes 3–4 months, so ideally preconception health should be in place for this long

  • Recent studies report a world-wide decline in sperm number and quality over the past 50 years, although this seems to have leveled off in NZ over the past 15-20 years
  • Men and women should follow a healthy, balanced diet – a Mediterranean-style diet has been shown to be ideal for fertility
  • Avoid (or reduce) alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Women should supplement with folic acid and iodine - most women need a folic acid supplement to achieve the levels known to reduce the chance of gross abnormalities such as spina bifida
  • Avoid recreational drugs and nicotine
  • Exercise extreme caution when self-prescribing any medication or fertility device
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • These factors are equally important for women and men
  • Moderate exercise – too much or too little can be detrimental to your fertility
  • Men should avoid increased testicular heat
  • Avoid environmental toxicity as far as possible – in your home and work
  • Proactively manage stress and prioritise self-care
  • These lifestyle factors can also impact success of IVF

Learn more about Lifestyle factors influencing fertility...