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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

What Risk Factors Increase Infertility?

Updated: May 18, 2023

Infertility is a common struggle for many couples, affecting around 10-15% of couples globally. While infertility is often thought of as a female issue, the reality is that both men and women can experience fertility problems. In this blog post, we will focus specifically on the risk factors that increase infertility in women. From age-related decline to lifestyle choices, we will explore the various factors that can impact a woman's ability to conceive.

Whether you are considering starting a family or are already on your fertility journey, this post will provide valuable insights into the risk factors that may be impacting your fertility as a woman.


In this article:



What is infertility?

A couple is considered infertile if they try but fail to get pregnant within one year. If you’re a woman over 35, you are considered infertile if you haven’t been able to get pregnant after 6 months of trying. Women who can conceive but do not carry a pregnancy to term may also be diagnosed with infertility. Infertility isn’t just a woman’s problem. An estimated 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 and 44 have trouble conceiving.


Women who have pregnancy problems may lose the baby:

  • Before the 20th week of pregnancy (miscarriage)

  • After the 20th week of pregnancy (stillbirth)

Men can be infertile too. In fact, men and women are equally likely to have fertility problems.


Are there types of infertility?

Yes! Types of infertility include:

  • Primary: A woman who was never pregnant and who can’t conceive after one year of not using birth control.

  • Secondary: Secondary infertility occurs when a woman can’t get pregnant again after having at least one successful pregnancy.

What are the risk factors?

Not all women have an equal risk of infertility. The risks for infertility in women include

  • Age - A woman's fertility reduces every year after she turns 30. The rate at which the quality and quantity of viable eggs reduce increases significantly once she hits 35.

  • Body weight - Women who are underweight and have a restrictive diet or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia have nutrient deficiencies that contribute towards infertility. On the other hand, being overweight or obese affects egg quality adversely.

  • Exposure to Stress - May not cause infertility directly but it can have an impact on your fertility. It can cause bad eating habits that lead to weight gain, and affect sleep patterns, and sex drive. Women who work in high-stress environments have a higher risk of infertility as compared to others.

  • Alcohol or Tobacco Dependency - Women who smoke have a higher risk of tubal pregnancies and miscarriages. Similarly, excessive alcohol consumption can affect a woman's health and reduce the efficacy of fertility treatments.

  • Exposure to Sexually Transmitted Infections - Having multiple sexual partners puts a woman at a higher risk of STIs. Some of these STIs such as gonorrhoea or chlamydia are common causes of infertility.


When should I seek help for infertility?

If you are under the age of 35 and aren’t pregnant after one year of trying you should see a healthcare provider. if you’re older than 35 you should seek help after six months of trying. Regardless of gender, you should seek help early if you have a risk factor that affects fertility.


How can I prevent infertility?

Men and women can take these steps to protect their fertility, especially while trying to conceive:

  • Eat a well-balanced diet and maintain a healthy weight.

  • Don’t smoke, misuse drugs or drink excessively.

  • Get treated for STDs.

  • Limit exposure to toxins.

  • Stay physically active, but don’t overdo exercise.


The bottom line

Being diagnosed with infertility doesn’t mean you can never have a child. It means that now that you have a clear diagnosis you can work with your doctor to choose the right treatment for you or find the right fertility options for you. The treatment that’s right for you and your partner will depend on many factors, such as your age, the cause of infertility, and your personal preferences.

Stay informed, stay in control Did this help?



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