Some aspects of your lifestyle that may be affecting your fertility are:
- Age (both maternal and paternal)
- Smoking and alcohol
Both obesity and being underweight can increase fertility challenges. Obesity or being overweight may be an indication of polycystic ovary syndrome, but if PCOS is not at play being outside of a normal weight range can cause other types of hormonal imbalances that may impede your ability to conceive. Being severely underweight – either from disordered eating, over-exercise, or both – can disrupt normal menstruation and in some cases stops periods entirely. A balanced diet and appropriate exercise are an important part of any healthcare plan, and fertility treatments are no different.
Advancing age, in both women and men, can contribute to fertility issues. Egg and sperm quality decreases with age and can increase genetic defects in any embryos produced. Freezing eggs and sperm for future use can prevent some of those issues.
It is now well known that smoking and drinking during pregnancy is detrimental to the fetus, but some studies show that women who smoke and drink heavily while trying to conceive may have a harder time than those women who do not (any amount of drinking between zero drinks per week to moderate alcohol consumption had no effect). Smoking is also associated with increased likelihood – up to four times according to some studies – of ectopic pregnancy. If you are a frequent smoker or drinker and are struggling to get pregnant, reducing your consumption may help.
Some lifestyle factors are more in your control than others, but there are opportunities to remedy many of these factors and increase your chances of conceiving.