Can Dietary Patterns Impact Fertility Outcomes? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Nutrients. 2023 May 31;15(11):2589. doi: 10.3390/nu15112589.


There are conflicting results on the effect of diet on fertility. This study aimed to assess the effect of different dietary patterns on fertility outcomes in populations who conceive spontaneously and those requiring assisted reproductive technology (ART). A systematic search and meta-analysis were performed for studies investigating dietary patterns or whole diets in reproductive aged women requiring ART or conceived naturally. Outcomes were live births, pregnancy rates and infertility rates. In amount of 15,396 studies were screened with 11 eligible studies. Ten different diet patterns were grouped broadly into categories: Mediterranean, Healthy or Unhealthy. For the Mediterranean diet, on excluding high risk-of-bias studies (n = 3), higher adherence was associated with improved live birth/pregnancy rates in ART [OR 1.91 (95% CI 1.14-3.19, I2 43%)] (n = 2). Adherence to various Healthy diets was associated with improved ART outcomes (ProFertility diet and Dutch Dietary Guidelines) and natural conception outcomes (Fertility diet). However, due to the variability in Healthy diets' components, results were not pooled. Studies demonstrated preliminary evidence for the role of dietary patterns or whole diets in improving pregnancy and live birth rates. However, due to heterogeneity across the literature it is currently unclear which diet patterns are associated with improvements in fertility and ART outcomes.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; diet; diet pattern; fertility; infertility; live birth; pregnancy; systematic review; whole diet.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Fertility*
  • Humans
  • Live Birth
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted