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Fertility Week: Good preconception health affects chances of pregnancy and long-term health of a child

Press release October 15, 2018 Health Fertility Child Pregnancy

Encouraging people to understand the importance of both men's and women's health before conception and how this affects the health of a child at birth and throughout its lifetime is the focus of Fertility Week 2018, which begins Monday, October 15.

Over the past two decades, research has revealed that the preconception health of men as well as women has a big influence on the health of a child. Factors including poor nutrition, being very overweight, smoking, exposure to some chemicals and using drugs and alcohol at the time of conception can affect the future child's short and long-term health.


These factors can affect the genes in the woman's eggs and man's sperm as they grow and mature. This can then affect the developing baby and, ultimately, a child's health across its lifetime.


“Being as healthy as possible when you are trying for a baby is really important,” said Dr Karin Hammarberg, Senior Researcher at Your Fertility, a national government-funded public education program, which presents Fertility Week every year.


“So the health of both parents – and that’s both the mum and the dad to be – before they conceive has lasting effects on the health of the baby when it’s born but also into adulthood,” Dr Hammarberg said.


“And being very healthy also increases the chance of conceiving at all – whether that’s naturally or with IVF,” she said.


“Having a healthy lifestyle – and that includes eating a nutritious diet and keeping very physically active and also trying to stay in a healthy weight range - is particularly important at the time when people are trying to start a family,” she said.


“Smokers who want to become parents: they really should ideally stop smoking before they try to get pregnant – not just when they find out that they are pregnant. And all aspiring parents should limit their use of alcohol at the time they are trying for a baby and of course during the pregnancy,” she said.


“It’s also important to try to steer clear from some of the chemicals we are exposed to in the workplace and in the home.”


“And of course everyone completely understands that losing weight or stopping smoking can be really hard, but it’s important for people to know the effect of their general health on their chances of having a baby and on the health of their future child.”


Fertility Week 2018 is a national public health campaign which runs between October 15-21 and is presented by Your Fertility and the Fertility Coalition.


More information about Fertility Week 2018, including new videos and a new resource on preconception health for men by Andrology Australia, is available at


Further tips and information, including expert advice, links to recipes and exercise ideas can be found on the new Your Fertility website


For further information and interviews contact:


Marjorie Solomon, VARTA PR Officer

Mobile: 0452 515 302

Email: [email protected]


Saturday only

Renee de Silva, Health Promotion Coordinator

Mobile: 0401 640 052


Health Fertility Child Pregnancy