Seafood Intake, Sexual Activity, and Time to Pregnancy

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Jul 1;103(7):2680-2688. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-00385.


Context: Marine long-chain omega-3 fatty acids have been positively related to markers of fecundity in both men and women. However, seafood, their primary food source, can also be a source of toxicants, which could counteract the reproductive benefits.

Objective: To examine the relationship of male and female seafood intake with time to pregnancy (TTP).

Design: Our prospective cohort study included 501 couples planning pregnancy, who participated in the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment study (2005 to 2009) and were followed up for ≤1 year or until pregnancy was detected. Seafood intake was collected daily during follow-up in journals.

Setting: Couples residing in Michigan and Texas were recruited using population-based sampling frameworks.

Main outcome measures: The primary outcome was the TTP, determined using an in-home pregnancy test. A secondary outcome was sexual intercourse frequency (SIF) as recorded in the daily journals.

Results: Couples with male and female partners who consumed eight or more seafood servings per cycle had 47% (95% CI, 7% to 103%) and 60% (95% CI, 15% to 122%) greater fecundity (shorter TTP) than couples with male and female partners who consumed one or fewer seafood servings per cycle. Couples with both partners consuming eight or more seafood servings per cycle had 61% (95% CI, 17% to 122%) greater fecundity than couples consuming less. Male and female partners with the highest seafood intake (eight or more servings per cycle) also had 22% greater SIF.

Conclusions: Greater male and female seafood intake was associated with a higher SIF and fecundity among a large prospective cohort of couples attempting pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet Surveys
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Michigan
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Seafood / analysis*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Texas
  • Time Factors