In Western societies there has been a change in reproductive behaviour with a tendency towards more couples postponing childbearing. As a consequence the number of couples experiencing impaired fertility in the Netherlands is rising. Female age in this respect is the commonly studied individual risk factor for subfertility. Subfertility is clinically defined as 12 months of unprotected intercourse during the fertile period of the menstrual cycle without a resulting pregnancy. Several modifiable factors exist that also affect fertility and the chance of having a healthy child. Many studies underline the detrimental role of adverse lifestyles and dietary intake of both women and men on reproductive outcome. During the periconceptional period – defined as the time span before and surrounding conception – these factors can detrimentally influence reproductive processes such as gametogenesis, fertilisation and implantation, through the induction of oxidative stress, chromosomal defects, interact with polymorphisms in detoxification enzymes and/or possible interfere with epigenetic mechanisms. Worldwide, there is a high prevalence of unhealthy lifestyle factors in women and men during their reproductive period. In the Netherlands 25% of the women and 35% of the men smoke, 80-90% of women and men use social alcohol , defined as the use of <14 units/week, and 40% of the women and 52% of the men have overweight or are obese. Therefore, research into potential modifiable risk factors may ultimately contribute to preventive and curative treatments. In the following paragraph the implication of adverse lifestyles on reproductive performance are outlined.

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The printing of this thesis was financially supported by The Department of Obsterics and Gynaecology, Division of Reproductive Medicine, Erasmus Medical Center, Erasmus MC Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam.
R.P.M. Steegers-Theunissen (Régine) , J.S.E. Laven (Joop)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hammiche, F. (2012, February 8). Preconception care: The influence of nutrition and lifestyle on fertility . Retrieved from