Some women get pregnant at the first try, for others it takes some time before the pregnancy test shows the desired result. In addition to more obvious factors such as health, there are often other reasons that you don’t necessarily think about, which can affect your fertility. We have gathered a few factors for you that can significantly affect your fertility:
The most favorable age for the occurrence of pregnancy for women is between the ages of 20 and 30. Fertility decreases slightly from the age of 30, significantly from the age of 35 and the probability of becoming pregnant is very low from the age of 45. The egg depot in the ovaries is decisive for how long a woman can have children. While a woman has over a million immature eggs at birth, the number drops to around 25,000 by the age of 37. The number of eggs with chromosomal damage, on the other hand, increases. In men, the number of sperm capable of fertilization decreases from the age of 40. Another problem may be erectile dysfunction, which increases with age.
Diet and weight
Both severely underweight and overweight women have a harder time getting pregnant. The reason for this is the metabolic activity of the fatty tissue, which upsets the hormone balance and can lead to dysfunctions. To put it simply, the production of estrogen increases with the mass of fatty tissue, which can result in cycle disorders or the absence of menstruation. However, if you permanently eat fewer calories than your body needs, the organism slows down the burning of nutrients and shuts down bodily functions that are not absolutely vital, such as reproductive capacity. After just two weeks of no solid food intake, the menstrual cycle can stop. The composition of the diet also plays a role. A very high-carbohydrate, vegetarian diet is more likely to cause cycle disruptions than a balanced Mediterranean diet.
Whether it’s a challenging job, a busy schedule, constant noise or a strong psychological-mental strain – stress has many faces and is perceived and also processed differently from person to person. The fact is, however, that too much stress can make you ill, often leads to menstrual irregularities in women, and can even suppress ovulation. In men, persistent stress inhibits sperm production. Unfortunately, stress cannot (always) be avoided, but it makes sense to rethink one’s own lifestyle, to create periods of rest, and to generally take on less. Physical exercise, a healthy diet and relaxation techniques can help to create a balance and become more resilient to stress.
Sports and environmental influences
Heat, especially overheating of the testicles, e.g. through intensive cycling or wearing (too) tight jeans, leads to poorer semen quality and production in men. In women, competitive sports or continuous intense physical exertion of any kind can result in the absence of menstruation or ovulation. A constantly high noise level also seems to have a negative impact on a woman’s fertility. Industrial pollutants and environmental toxins such as heavy metals or pesticides also damage fertility in principle.
High alcohol consumption affects fertility in both men and women. Alcohol-dependent women often suffer from menstrual disorders, while men experience a decrease in sperm production and motility in addition to potency. However, the disorders normalize after three months of abstinence.
It is common knowledge that smoking during pregnancy is a major risk. But not every woman is aware that smoking already affects getting pregnant. On the one hand, the harmful substances affect the hormone balance as well as ovarian function, which impairs egg maturation. In addition, the risk of miscarriage increases. On the other hand, smoking in men negatively affects sperm count and motility.
Caffeinated beverages such as coffee can also inhibit fertility in women. Although caffeine is known for its stimulant effects, it inhibits fertilization by decreasing muscle activity in the fallopian tube wall. The slowed muscle contractions cause the egg to reach the uterus more slowly, which can prevent fertilization. In addition, caffeine in large amounts is also harmful during pregnancy, so coffee consumption should be greatly reduced.