Infertility Risk Factors
More than five million Americans struggle with infertility. Infertility affects both men and women. If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, or planning to in the future, there are some potential risk factors regarding infertility. If you identify these in you or your partner, talk to your doctor because the sooner you treat the issues, the better your chances of achieving your dream of parenthood.
Some of the common factors that can affect a woman’s ability to conceive are:
- Being overweight: If your body fat level is 10-15% higher than average, your body can become overloaded with estrogen. This increase in estrogen levels can affect your reproductive cycle.
- Being underweight: On the opposite end, body fat levels of 10-15% below normal can also affect your reproductive process by slowing or shutting it down.
- Having a hormonal imbalance: Irregularities in the hormone system (characterized by irregular menstrual cycles or short, long, or heavy periods) can affect ovulation. One of the best ways to know if you are ovulating is if you are having 28 day cycles. If your periods come sooner or later than every 28 days, you might not be ovulating regularly, making it harder to become pregnant.
- Having an autoimmune disorder: Diseases such as lupus, diabetes, thyroid disease, and rheumatoid arthritis can interfere with fertility.
- Taking medication: Antidepressants, antibiotics, painkillers, and other drugs used to treat chronic disorders may cause temporary infertility. Talk to your doctor about these medications and their effect on fertility before changing your medication regimen.
- Using tobacco or alcohol: Smoking and even moderate alcohol consumption can increase your risk of infertility and impair conception.
- Age: The number one predictor of fertility is your age. You are born with only so many eggs. Over time you use up those eggs and the quality goes down. So it is easier to get pregnant when you are younger compared to when you are older because of the quality of the eggs.