Factors That Can Impact Fertility

Making healthy choices can help you increase your chances.

Creating healthy habits is important when you and your partner are trying to conceive. There are many factors that can affect fertility, and it’s best to get a handle on them early so you can be as prepared as possible. Infertility has typically been seen as a female issue, but many couples are surprised to find that infertility can affect men and women equally. Here are some things to think about to be sure that the two of you are priming your bodies for successful conception.


Factors that affect fertility in women include:

  • Age—Around 35, many women see a sharp decrease in fertility. They may have fewer healthy eggs left or may be dealing with more health concerns. However, it is still very possible to get pregnant without issue.
  • Smoking and Alcohol Consumption—Smoking is linked to decreases in female fertility. Alcohol consumption impacts fertility as well.
  • Being Overweight or Underweight—Being overweight by 10 to 15 percent can disrupt ovulation because this can often cause estrogen levels to be high. Being underweight by the same percentage can potentially halt the reproductive system entirely.
  • Autoimmune Disorders—Several disorders like thyroid disease or lupus have been linked to infertility. Be sure to meet with your doctor to discuss how you can achieve a healthy pregnancy if this pertains to you.
  • Medications—There are certain medications that aren’t safe for you or your future baby. Your doctor will be able to tell you which medications you can continue and which you should halt for the time being.
  • Sexual Transmitted Infections—An untreated STI can lead to tubal scarring and other reproductive problems. Your doctor will be able to address any issues when you visit for a physical.
  • Poor Diet—What you put into your body directly impacts your overall well-being. Because you want your body to be in great shape when you are trying to conceive, be sure to eat a balanced diet to encourage your body’s overall health.
  • Sleep and Stress—Encourage your body to perform at its best. Get plenty of sleep and find time to relax so as not to disrupt your body’s processes and encourage fertility.


Factors that affect fertility in men include:

  • Obesity—Men who are considered overweight can experience reduced testicular function and may have a lower sperm count.
  • Hazardous Materials and Toxins—Exposure to things like lead, pesticides, and radiation can have a negative effect on sperm count and quality.
  • Certain Health Conditions—Issues like lupus, kidney disease or diabetes can potentially cause a decrease in fertility. Consult your doctor to find out if any of your health conditions can possibly impact your chances.
  • Heavy Drinking—One to two drinks a day is fine, but heavy drinking can lower testosterone levels and affect the sperm.
  • Smoking—This can affect a man’s sperm concentration, the quality of his sperm, and can slow down sperm’s motility (the ability to move once in the uterus).
  • Certain Medications—Be sure to check with your doctor to see which medications are all right to continue taking and which you should sideline for a bit.
  • Drug Use—Illegal substances can temporarily reduce sperm quality and quantity significantly.
  • Sleep and Stress—Just like your female partner, you want your body to be in great shape. Part of that is making sure you have enough time to recharge and remain balanced.

Infertility affects an estimated 1 in 8 couples, and affects men and women equally. On average, most couples try for six to twelve months before conceiving. If you are 35 or over and have been trying for 6 months, or if you are under 35 and have been trying for 12 months with no success, consult your doctor.