Some stress is normal but extremes of stress or inappropriate response to stress may affect fertility. By eating inadequately or in excess, your general medical condition may deteriorate, making conception more difficult. By coping with stress through smoking and alcohol, additional damage to your fertility may occur.
While too numerous to list, many significant medical problems, especially those that are not under strict control, may damage your fertility potential over time. One classic example is diabetes. Stay as healthy as you can and treat existing medical problems effectively. Remember that delivery is like a mini-marathon, and if you are out of shape, it may be a difficult run, at best.
Weight-related fertility factors are certainly known. Obesity, pre-diabetes, and diabetes can affect ejaculation, sperm production, ovulation, miscarriage rates, and increase fetal malformation rates. A balanced diet is important for numerous health concerns including fertility.
If you know that a close relative (parent or sibling) had diseases such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), early menopause, or hypothyroidism, you may be at an increased risk for some of these same diseases. While not usually inherited like the color of hair and eyes, many families have predispositions for specific diseases, and these diseases may affect fertility.
If there is going to be a significant delay in reproduction or if a patient may be at risk for loss of their eggs or sperm (i.e., chemotherapy and/or surgery), the freezing of sperm and eggs may want to be considered. There may be some circumstances where it may be wise to consider freezing testicular and ovarian tissue, although these procedures are experimental.
Diseases such as mumps can affect sperm production. Many diseases (i.e., German measles) are dangerous during pregnancy.
Women are at greater risk for more sexual partners should marriage and childbearing be delayed. As women age, gynecologic conditions such as endometriosis and uterine polyps/fibroids become more common. Women become dramatically less fertile as they age, especially in the late 30s and 40s. Men's sperm production also deteriorates with age.
The definition of infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. If this time has passed, seek the assistance of your OB-GYN. If over the age of 35, consider seeking the assistance of a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist.
If a woman has had ovarian surgery in the past or any sexually transmitted diseases, consider seeking evaluation sooner. Men who have had infections of the prostate, testicles, or nearby structures, and men who have injured their testicles to the point of bruising or swelling, may be at risk for sperm problems.
Nearly all forms of substance abuse can affect sperm production, egg release, and fetal development. These substances include recreational drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes.
Hormonal contraception seems to reduce the incidence of some sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, the hormonal contraception may protect from endometriosis, endometrial polyps, and the formation of endometrial cancer.
It is a very important part of a balanced lifestyle to stay active and healthy. Sedentary lifestyles lead to weight problems, which can potentially impact fertility.
Either through abstinence or condoms, one should always attempt to avoid sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes, and venereal warts.
Calcium channel blockers used for high blood pressure and medications used to treat arthritis may affect fertility potential. Many medications are not recommended during pregnancy, while others may be taken without concern to current and future fertility issues. Seek consultation with your physician for additional information.
Couples who have frequent intercourse, up to five times per week, seem to get pregnant the fastest. Relations every 36 and 48 hours bracketing around ovulation is probably ideal. Sexual position does not play a role in fertility.