Lower Your Chances - What Puts You At Risk - Large

The risk factors that might cause infertility can be many, for both men and women. Some of those risk factors you can change. Others you can’t. To prevent infertility, it helps to identify the risk factors you have control over. Then you can begin looking at ways to change them.

Even something as simple as losing 5 percent of your body weight can help.

Infertility Risk Factors for Women

  • Age. Women in their late 30s and older are generally less fertile than women in their early 20s.
  • Endometriosis
  • Chronic diseases (diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension or asthma)
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Environmental factors. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption or exposure to workplace hazards or toxins
  • Excessive or very low body fat
  • Abnormal Pap smears that have been treated with cryosurgery or cone biopsy
  • DES (diethylstilbestrol) taken by mother during pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Fallopian tube disease
  • Multiple miscarriages
  • Fibroids
  • Pelvic surgery which can cause pelvic adhesions
  • Abnormalities in the uterus that are present at birth or happen later in life
  • Irregular menstrual cycles which can signal irregular ovulation

Infertility Risk Factors for Men

  • History of prostatitis, genital infection or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Exposure to hazards on the job or toxic substances, such as radiation, radioactivity, welding, and many chemicals, including lead, ethylene dibromine and vinyl chloride
  • Cigarette or marijuana smoke
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Exposure of the genitals to high temperatures
  • Hernia repair
  • Undescended testicles
  • Prescription drugs (opioid-like drugs that affect the central nervous system, including many psychotropic drugs)
  • Mumps after puberty

Infertility Risk Factors for Women and Men

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Drug abuse
  • Extreme weight gain or loss
  • Obesity
  • Excessive physical or emotional stress

Take a closer look at these lists. Of these infertility risk factors, which are in your control? Obviously you can’t make yourself any younger. You can’t change your medical history. But, according to Steven Lindheim, MD, of Wright State Physicians Obstetrics & Gynecology, “Even something as simple as losing 5 percent of your body weight can help. Exercising 30 minutes three times a week will dramatically improve your general medical health as well as increase the likelihood that you can get pregnant.”

Consider these first steps in your efforts to achieve pregnancy:

  • Cut down your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Eat healthy and exercise regularly. If you are overweight or obese, then simply losing 5% of your current weight can help increase your chances of pregnancy.
  • Talk to your doctor about any excessive physical or emotional stress you may be under.

Schedule an appointment

To find an OB/GYN or primary care provider, call (937) 489-4880(937) 489-4880 or complete the form below to receive a call from our call center to schedule an appointment.