Certain foods are known to boost your hormones, improve your gut health and lower stress levels, all of which are important factors when trying to conceive.

While eating recommended foods cannot guarantee pregnancy, or overcome issues like blocked fallopian tubes, it can significantly improve the chances of conception and/or having a healthy baby.

A balanced diet including these foods is recommended, with everything in moderation, as too much of certain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants can also be harmful.

Foods beneficial for male and female fertility

  • Lentils contain folate and fibre
  • Eggs contain iron, folate and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Pomegranate is rich in antioxidants
  • Walnuts containOmega-6 and Omega-3
  • Sunflower seeds contain folate, selenium and Vitamin E 

Foods beneficial for female fertility

  • Liver contains iron, folate and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Asparagus contains folate and vitamins
  • Salmon and sardines contain vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Avocados contain folate and Vitamin E
  • Olive oil in place of saturated fats


Other recommended fertility foods include citrus fruits, cooked tomatoes, dark, leafy green vegetables, watermelon, sweet potatoes and berries.

Both men and women are advised to replace saturated fats where possible. Saturated fats are fats which are solid at room temperature, eg. butter. For women, replace saturated fat with monounsaturated fats and for men, replace with polyunsaturated fats. Monounsaturated fats (eg. fats found in olives, olive oil and nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (found in vegetable oils, seeds, nuts and oily fish) are considered to be healthier than saturated fats, however, any fat should be taken in moderation.


What is selenium useful for?

Selenium is an antioxidant that can promote healthy follicles in the ovaries and prevent against miscarriage and birth defects. It is also essential for sperm formation and testosterone production and good for sperm motility. The amount of selenium the diet needs to be regulated as high doses can be dangerous.  


What is the difference between folate and folic acid?

Folate and folic acid are both recommended before and during pregnancy, to help prevent birth defects, such as spina bifida. Folate is a B vitamin, needed for healthy growth and development and is found naturally in certain whole foods. Folic acid is the synthetic form.


What areOmega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids?

Omega-3helps maximise blood flow to the testicles and improves egg quality.  Omega-6 maintains the reproductive system.


Should I increase my iron intake?

This is something to be discussed with your doctor. Having more iron when trying to conceive may increase your chances and help to prevent you becoming anaemic when pregnant, but too much can be harmful.

Having a healthy and balanced diet is not just important for conception, but it’s good for your mental and physical well-being during pregnancy and for your energy levels as a new parent.


Introducing changes to your diet

If you or your partner are planning on making significant changes to your diet, then it’s advisable to discuss the changes with your GP and/or your fertility specialist and especially if you are overweight or underweight. They can advise you about a healthy diet for conception and pregnancy, taking into account you and your partner’s individual BMI and medical history.


At The IVFNetwork, we understand the needs of individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. To reduce overwhelm and to help you to make key decisions on your fertility journey, we have experts on our channel, who talk about all aspects of fertility treatment, conception and pregnancy.