September 15, 2018 By Robin Josep
The Fertility Factbook: Factors That Can Influence Female Infertility
Your lifestyle can influence your body in more ways than you think, with factors like smoking, drinking and strenuous exercise serving to diminish fertility. If you’re thinking of starting a family but are constantly sandwiched between hectic weekdays and gone-before-you-know-it weekends, it’s a good idea to consider these factors.
Millennial couples are proving to be a new-age paradigm in family planning, putting off parenthood until after they have established their careers, achieved more than half their bucket list and taken half a dozen trips around the world. Or thereabouts. What many don’t realise is that fertility exhibits a sharp decline in women after the age of 35, making conception increasingly difficult. While male fertility also has an inverse relationship with age, the decline is far more gradual. Also, men produce sperm on an ongoing basis, unlike women, who are born with a finite set of eggs.
Smoking can give as much short-term pleasure as long-term heartache – especially when it comes to fertility. The habit has profound effects on fertility in both men and women, presenting risks like low birth weight, miscarriage and preterm delivery. Female smokers also usually host lower egg reserves than their non-smoking counterparts, while male smokers typically suffer from poor sperm motility, compromised sperm morphology and low sperm count. What’s more, research reveals that smokers who opt for assisted reproductive techniques experience half the success rates of non-smokers. Which means as a smoker, you would likely have to undergo twice the cycles and bear twice the expenses for fertility treatment. If you do resort to fertility intervention, it is recommended that you quit smoking at least three months before the commencement of your treatment.
If you take your dinner with a bottle of moonshine, it’s time to find an alternative nightly ritual to raise your spirits. Alcohol can increase your risk of infertility and miscarriage, with research suggesting that your chances of conception can drop by 30% with as few as 5 drinks per week. Even with fertility technology, alcohol can lead to lower egg reserves. Likewise for men, significant consumption of alcohol can impact sperm count and motility.
Body weight directly governs fertility, and being significantly above or below your recommended weight range can disrupt your reproductive mechanism. Overweight and obesity can give rise to ovulation dysfunction and worsen polycystic ovaries, whereas underweight can impede and even arrest ovulation.
Processed foods, preservatives and pesticides are infamous for wrecking the hormonal balance in the body. The occasional biscuit, the once-a-day dessert; they all add up. Even the veggies and fruits in your chiller are likely drizzled with pesticides, and unless you religiously stick to the organic variety, you’re probably consuming chemicals everyday. It’s important to restrict your pantry to healthy snacks like nuts, makana and sunflower seeds, and your fridge to organic produce. Add healthy fats, slow carbs, milk and iron to your meals. Seek out a nutritionist to guide you on your nutrition journey.
More often than not, lifestyle-induced infertility can be reversed through stress management, dietary, physical and habitual changes. While age factors cannot be reversed, there are assisted reproductive technologies that can maximise your chances of conception even at an advanced age. If you’re concerned about your fertility and want to know more, meet a fertility specialist on Cloudnine. With an effective treatment plan, you can trump all those years of late nights and early mornings and gift yourself and your partner a miracle worth all those years of planning.