How can I improve my fertility?

Making some healthy lifestyle changes can increase your chance of becoming pregnant.


No safe limit for smoking. The chemicals in cigarettes damage oocytes and sperm, and can affect a baby’s health. Quitting increases the chance of conceiving, as some of the effects on the oocytes and sperm are reversible. Talk to our team for assistance or check out the Department of Health’s How to quit smoking website:


Heavy drinking increases the time it takes to get pregnant and can affect a developing baby’s health. Heavy drinking can reduce men’s sex drive, affect the quality of sperm and cause impotence. Cessation of drinking whilst trying to conceive and during pregnancy improves your change of having a pregnancy and healthy baby.

Refer to Australian guidelines to reduce health risk from drinking alcohol:

Recreational Drugs

Taking recreational drugs reduces the chance of pregnancy and having a healthy baby. Using cannabis can lower men’s sperm count, reduce libido, decrease fertility and reduce capacity of sperm to fertilise the ooctye. In women, cannabis use can reduce the chance of conception, reduce the number of oocytes retrieved and reduces the chance of healthy pregnancy, associated with implantation failure, spontaneous miscarriage, foetal growth restriction, low birth weight babies and premature birth.

Long-term use of cocaine, heroin and ecstasy can lead to permanent reproductive problems for men and women. Talk to our team for assistance.

Anabolic steroids used for body building or competitive sports causes testes to shrink and stops the production of sperm. It takes two years for sperm to return to normal after stopping steroids.


Some studies have found that women who drink large amounts of caffeine may take longer to become pregnant and have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage and low birth weight. Experts advise limiting caffeine if you are trying to conceive and during pregnancy.

Healthy Weight and Exercise

A healthy weight can increase your chance of pregnancy, and having a healthy baby. Being overweight affects the quality of oocytes and sperm, and can reduce the chance of pregnancy, being under weight can also reduce fertility. Reducing a few kilos can improve the chance of pregnancy this can be achieved by healthy eating and regular exercise. Talk to our team for assistance.

Nutrition and Lifestyle Factors

When considering an IVF journey, couples and individuals should primarily consider the question: "Are we fit to conceive?". Lifestyle factors greatly affect the ability to conceive, the health of a pregnancy and your baby. Optimal nutrition and fitness comprise vital components, as well as keeping your stressors under control.

The requirement for good health – primarily weight and fitness – applies equally to men and women preparing for parenthood, not only the female who conceives and bears the longed-for child. For men, the chances of producing large numbers of healthy sperm which are fine swimmers - and ultimately fathering a child - are boosted if certain criteria are met –including healthy weight, regular exercise, a good diet and careful lifestyle modifications.

For both males and females, being overweight reduces the quality and durability of both eggs and sperm, and can also affect hormone levels and libido. For this reason, patients need to be a BMI of 34 or under to be eligible to start the IVF program. Likewise, being underweight can affect fertility and the health of the baby as much as obesity.

This is where Clinical Nutritionist Sara Millikin can assist. She is the perfect fit in preparing for your IVF journey. Sara specialises in health and fitness, including weight management, digestive health, food intolerances and family and sports nutrition. She can advise prospective parents on maximising their chances of conception through healthy lifestyle choices and good nutrition. To overcome obesity, one of the primary causes of infertility, or be your optimal weight for reproductive health and beginning the IVF program, she can advise on healthy meal plans, fitness management, and other strategies.

As well as face-to-face consultations in-clinic, Sara offers remote Telehealth consultations. The price of a 45-minute Nutritional Consultation is $90, claimable through certain health funds, offering minimal fees for optimal advice.

Book an appointment with Sara Millikin at or call 02 8311 3580