Some individuals don’t realise they have fertility issues until they attempt to have a baby. That’s because symptoms don’t often accompany infertility problems. Whether you’re actively trying to conceive or simply thinking about it, it’s essential to know whether anything you or your partner are doing reduces your chances of becoming pregnant. While you may not influence everything that affects your fertility, you may influence certain factors.
Medically Reviewed by Dr. K on 2nd Dec 2021.
Understanding Infertility: Why You And Your Partner May Be Struggling To Have A Baby
Risk Factors for Infertility
Fertility issues affect both men and women equally. Both spouses are involved in approximately a third of instances, or doctors cannot determine the reason.
The following are some of the variables that influence a couple’s capacity to produce a child:
Age. Women have a fixed amount of eggs when they are born. As people grow older, this number decreases, making it more difficult to conceive when they reach their mid-30s. Their odds of becoming pregnant decrease from 90% to 67% by the age of 40. It’s just 15% by the age of 45. After the age of 40, a man’s fertility declines.
Can you lower your risk? In specific ways, yes. Don’t put off having children until you’re ready. It’s better if you’re young.
Smoking. You are less likely to get pregnant if you use tobacco or marijuana. Tobacco and marijuana may raise the risk of miscarriage in women and lower sperm count in males. In addition, smokers reach menopause two years sooner than non-smokers. Erectile dysfunction (ED) may potentially be a result of it.
Can you lower your risk? Yes. Do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
Drinking alcohol. According to doctors, there is no safe quantity of alcohol for women to consume during pregnancy. It has the potential to cause birth abnormalities. It may also reduce your chances of becoming pregnant, and heavy drinking may diminish sperm count in males.
Can you lower your risk? Yes. When attempting to conceive, both men and women should avoid alcohol.
Weight. Obese women may have irregular periods and miss ovulation. On the other hand, significantly underweight women may have difficulties since their reproductive systems may shut down. Obese men are more likely to have low-quality sperm or ED.
Can you lower your risk? Yes. If you’re over 40, talk to your doctor about exercising and eating to maintain a healthy weight. But don’t overdo it and put your body under too much stress.
Mental health. The chemicals that control your reproductive cycle may be affected by both sadness and a lot of stress. Women with these problems may not ovulate regularly, while males may have a reduced sperm count.
Can you lower your risk? Yes. Before and throughout your pregnancy attempt, aim to decrease your stress levels.
STDs. You are at risk for STDs if you have unprotected sex. In women, chlamydia and gonorrhoea may induce pelvic inflammatory disease and fallopian tube infections, whereas, in males, epididymis obstructions can result in infertility.
Can you lower your risk? Yes. To decrease your chances of contracting some STDs, use a condom every time you have intercourse.
Environmental factors. There may be things in your daily life preventing you from becoming pregnant, mainly if your work includes hazardous chemicals or dangers. Pesticides, pollution, extreme temperatures, chemicals, and electromagnetic solid or microwave radiation are potential hazards. Both sperm and eggs may be affected by cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy.
Certain things are exclusively relevant to women. Any of the following may cause problems with ovulation, hormones, or your reproductive organs:
- Disease of the fallopian tube
- Chronic diseases: Diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension, and asthma
- A total of two or more miscarriages
- Irregular periods
- Early menopause (before age 40)
- A uterus with an unusual form
- Polyps in the uterus
- Scar tissue left behind after a pelvic infection or surgery.
- Fibroids or cysts in the uterus
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Some male-specific variables that may influence sperm count, sperm health, or sperm delivery include:
- Testicles that has not descended
- Inflammed or infected prostate
- Mumps at any age following puberty.
- Medications for ulcers or psoriasis that need a prescription
- Cystic fibrosis
- A blockage in your testicles or premature ejaculation
- Veins in your testes that are enlarged
- American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists: “Evaluating Infertility.”
- RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association: “Risk Factors,” “Risk Factors for Women,” “Risk Factors for Men,” “Frequently asked questions about infertility.”
- Mayo Clinic: “Infertility.”
- Spermatogenesis: “Impact of obesity on male fertility, sperm function and molecular composition.”
- CDC: “STDs & Infertility.”