Paternal adherence to healthy dietary patterns in relation to sperm parameters and outcomes of assisted reproductive technologies

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Albert Salas-Huetos, M.Sc., Ph.D., Lidia Mínguez-Alarcón, Ph.D., Makiko Mitsunami, M.D., Mariel Arvizu, M.D., Sc.D., Jennifer B. Ford, R.N., Irene Souter, M.D., Marc Yeste, Ph.D., Jorge E. Chavarro, M.D., Sc.D. for theEARTH Study Team



To investigate whether men's adherence to dietary patterns promoted for the prevention of cardiovascular disease is associated with semen parameters and couples’ assisted reproductive technology (ART) outcomes.


Prospective cohort study.


Fertility center at an academic medical center.


A total of 245 men and their female partners who underwent 438 ART cycles between 2007 and 2020.


Male pretreatment dietary intake was assessed with a 131-item food frequency questionnaire from which we calculated eight a priori defined scores: Trichopoulou Mediterranean, Alternate Mediterranean, Panagiotakos Mediterranean, Healthy Eating Index, Alternative Healthy Eating Index, American Heart Association, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, and Plant-based.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The primary outcome was live births per treatment cycle. The secondary outcomes were fertilization, implantation, and clinical pregnancy and seminogram parameters.


There was an inverse association between greater adherence by men to the Panagiotakos Mediterranean diet and the American Heart Association dietary pattern and lower fertilization rate. However, there were no significant associations between men’s adherence to any of the analyzed dietary patterns and the probabilities of implantation, clinical pregnancy, or live birth in multivariable-adjusted models. No significant differences in any of the semen parameters were found between participants of the lowest quartile and those of the highest quartile of the eight dietary patterns.


These findings suggest that men’s adherence to several a priori defined dietary scores with documented cardiovascular benefits is not related to major outcomes of infertility treatment with ART or semen quality.

Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.