Just a thought, I wondered if the health / shape that you or your partner is in can affect conception in the way that it has any sort of baring on the child?
Of course! Here are a couple of blog posts I wrote on the subject that may be useful:
I don't know about fitness level, BMI, etc., other than for the mother insulin resistance on its own can prevent conception and implantation, and having too low of a body fat percentage can decrease ovulation and the chance of conception.
Availability of nutrients from the mother's body has a huge impact on the baby's development, and if she's been eating a nutrient poor diet, that increases the chances of things like spontaneous abortion, gestational diabetes, low birth weight, high birth weight, and pre-eclampsia.
In the father a diet poor in minerals (or high in mineral blocking foods) can reduce sperm motility and reduce the chance of conception. I'm not sure exactly what impact it would have on the child should conception occur with that sperm via IUI, or other fertility treatment, but there have been studies indicating that children conceived with assistance do face a slightly higher chance of health problems.
Absolutely! I recommended a specific pre-conception nutrition program for my moms/dads who were about to conceive, starting 6 months before conception (ideally) to 3 months before conception (at least).
IMO it can affect the ability to conceive, absolutely. And the health of the mother can affect the development of the child during the pregnancy. But AFAIK parental health doesn't change the sperm/egg in a way that would change the health of the child at conception.
I don't think there is any question that health is an important factor in conception, especially on the woman's part. The one I know is that excessive leanness can cause infertility:
I can't find the link :( but one of the Paleo blogs just recently linked to an article linking an infant's health to not just their parents' health but also to their grandparents' health.
But found another article referencing the same thing (including the WWII Dutch famine generational epigenetics that Gary Taubes talks about in Good Calories, Bad Calories).
Both the mother and father's health play an important role in the unborn child's health. Certain countries get their bodies ready for conception 6 months in advance of the child even being conceived. They eat a special diet in hopes of passing the nutrition along to their infant.