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Does Fasting Affect Fertility When Planning a Family?

Medically reviewed by Rubilyn Saldana-Santiago, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jul 26, 2022

    Does Fasting Affect Fertility When Planning a Family?

    If you and your partner are planning to start a family, you may be apprehensive about whether certain measures that benefit your health, like dieting or fasting, will affect your fertility. Does fasting affect fertility?

    This concern is quite reasonable because there is a possibility that this practice may adversely affect your hormones. This is because the schedule of your meals when you are fasting is drastically different from your usual routine, which may make some hormones go haywire. 

    So, does fasting affect fertility? Read on to learn more

    Does fasting affect fertility?

    Before we explore the answer to this question, it helps to define what fasting is. Fasting is the act of abstaining from food or drink for a certain period of time. This is typically done for health reasons. And the most common of which is to manage one’s weight.

    Researchers at Harvard University, in collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH),  found that restricting calorie intake in adult female mice could prevent abnormalities in pregnancy.

    In this study, the scientists monitored two groups of adult female mice aged three months to a year. This research studied how one’s diet could affect the quality of the eggs and the fertility of the lab mice.

    They conducted a study on mice, which led to their findings. How did they conduct the study?

    Here’s how:

    • One group was fed as much as possible during adulthood. And the other group was limited to seven months of dietary intake and was given plenty of food just before the study ended.
    • As a result, groups of mice that were allowed to eat freely experienced a decrease in the number of eggs produced during ovulation.
    • Meanwhile, eggs from a group of mice that restricted their intake of food had more healthy egg cells.
    • Research on other animals, such as female monkeys, also yielded similar results.
    • The results of this test caused researchers to expect that the diet and fertility of humans, especially adult women, will also be affected in the same way.
    • Based on this research, fasting might not affect the fertility of women. In fact, this study stated that this practice has many benefits. These include prolonging the fertility period of women and even increasing the number of eggs produced.

    This is all due to reduced calorie intake in your body during fasting, which reduces blood sugar levels and positively affects reproductive hormones.

    Thus, women who diet or fast tend to have a normal menstrual cycle and healthy egg production.

    Does fasting affect sperm quality?

    does fasting affect fertility

    Fasting also will not adversely affect the quality of sperm. On the contrary, fasting can actually improve the functioning of reproductive organs. Acid and alkaline levels in the body will be balanced out during fasting so that the function of various organs of the body can increase.

    Consciously restricted intake of food while fasting challenges the survival of bacteria, viruses, germs as well as harmful cancer cells.

    In addition, fasting also provides an opportunity for the digestive system to rest, removing various toxins and impurities that can damage your health.

    To maintain the quality of sperm and eggs during fasting, it is better to consume a balanced diet at breaks and keep check of your fluid levels.

    Whether you are planning to get pregnant soon or want to delay pregnancy, it’s important to seek your doctor’s opinion. As with any changes to our lifestyle that may affect our health or quality of life, it’s best to seek an expert opinion.

    Have you ever tried fasting? What other methods have you tried in order to boost fertility? Let us know in the comments section!

    Learn more about other fertility problems and treatment, here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Rubilyn Saldana-Santiago, MD


    Written by Nikita Bhalla · Updated Jul 26, 2022

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