Infertility is more common than you suspect. About 20% of women are unable to conceive for the first time after one year of trying.¹ It is important to note that fertility challenges can also be attributed to male-specific factors. However, in this article we will highlight some of the risk factors of infertility among women. Keep reading!
Risk Factors of Infertility
- Smoking. Smoking has been proven to impact fertility in both men and women. For women, research indicates that smoking can impact hormone production, making it more difficult for a woman to conceive.
- Alcohol. Drinking alcohol in moderation is not a risk factor. However, consuming alcohol in excess can increase risk of infertility. One study found that those who are dealing with alcoholism may be at higher risk of early menopause, affecting their potential to conceive.
- Age. After the age of 30, one’s fertility begins to decline. This decline becomes more rapid by age 35 and by the age of 45 conceiving naturally is highly unlikely. As women age, so do the eggs in her ovaries and the overall number of eggs decreases with time– this is one of the hallmarks of menopause.
- Weight. Maintaining a healthy body weight can minimize risk of infertility because your body will more likely be able to produce the right amount of estrogen. Being overweight or obese can increase the amount of the estrogen hormone produced in your body. Similar to estrogen birth controls, this excess amount of estrogen can prevent or delay ovulation, a necessary process needed to conceive. Being underweight can also increase risk for infertility because the body may stop producing estrogen. A lack of estrogen may stop ovulation altogether.
- Conditions of the reproductive tract. In order to conceive, you need a functional reproductive system. Conditions that impact your reproductive tract may make it difficult to conceive. For example, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can cause difficulties with ovulation and endometriosis can cause growths of tissue in the fallopian tubes making it difficult for an egg to be implanted for fertilization. Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can also impact the structure and function of the fallopian tubes.
At Trust Women’s Healthcare we provide a stigma free environment especially for women that may have difficulty conceiving. Schedule an appointment with us for fertility counseling services.
- Infertility | CDC. Published April 26, 2023. Accessed December 11, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm