Optimal maternal long-chain PUFA (LCPUFA) status is essential for the developing fetus. The fatty acid desaturase (FADS) genes are involved in the endogenous synthesis of LCPUFA. The minor allele of various FADS SNP have been associated with increased maternal concentrations of the precursors linoleic acid (LA) and α-linolenic acid (ALA), and lower concentrations of arachidonic acid (AA) and DHA. There is limited research on the influence of FADS genotype on cord PUFA status. The current study investigated the influence of maternal and child genetic variation in FADS genotype on cord blood PUFA status in a high fish-eating cohort. Cord blood samples (n 1088) collected from the Seychelles Child Development Study (SCDS) Nutrition Cohort 2 (NC2) were analysed for total serum PUFA. Of those with cord PUFA data available, maternal (n 1062) and child (n 916), FADS1 (rs174537 and rs174561), FADS2 (rs174575), and FADS1-FADS2 (rs3834458) were determined. Regression analysis determined that maternal minor allele homozygosity was associated with lower cord blood concentrations of DHA and the sum of EPA + DHA. Lower cord blood AA concentrations were observed in children who were minor allele homozygous for rs3834458 (β = 0·075; P = 0·037). Children who were minor allele carriers for rs174537, rs174561, rs174575 and rs3834458 had a lower cord blood AA:LA ratio (P < 0·05 for all). Both maternal and child FADS genotype were associated with cord LCPUFA concentrations, and therefore, the influence of FADS genotype was observed despite the high intake of preformed dietary LCPUFA from fish in this population.