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Lifestyle Choices That Pose Fertility Risks for Men and Women

fertility risk factors
Male and female infertility are fairly common conditions in North America. Infertility is generally characterized by the inability to naturally or artificially conceive a child after trying for about one year. There are a number of medical and lifestyle factors that can both directly and indirectly risk fertility. Male fertility risk factors can include low motility, morphology (shape of the sperm), genetic defects, etc. Female infertility can be caused by physiological issues such as endometriosis, thyroid disease, or uterine fibroids.

While these are common medical conditions that lead to fertility risks, there are also a number of lifestyle choices that can decrease the chances of successful pregnancy. Here are some of those factors:

Being Overweight or Underweight

Studies have shown that a person’s weight—whether they’re overweight or underweight—can severely impact fertility. Women who have a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 25 to 29.9 are classified in the overweight category. A BMI that is 30 and over is considered to be obese.

Obese pregnant women are at a great risk of developing gestational diabetes, high blood pressure during and after pregnancy, and congenital anomalies. They’re also at a much higher risk of requiring a caesarean section. Overweight men typically have a lower quality sperm count than men who are at a healthy weight.

Women with a BMI lower than 18.5 are considered to be underweight. This causes hormonal imbalances in the body, which reduces fertility and compromises ovulation.

Also Read: Foods to Increase Sperm Count and Motility

Waiting Too Long to Have a Child

Age is also an important factor when it comes to conception. Women who are over the age of 35 are more likely to have trouble conceiving than their younger counterparts.

Women are born with a natural biological clock that starts declining long before their menopausal years. The ovaries contain a finite number of ovules that start to rapidly deplete over time. This process can be exacerbated by certain harmful or unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

If you’re over the age of 35 and are having a hard time conceiving, you may want to consult an infertility counselling specialist to guide you in the right direction.

Smoking, Caffeine, Alcohol, and Recreational Drug Use

Smoking has been proven to accelerate the onset of menopause by one to four years in women who smoke compared to those who don’t. It can also significantly increase the risk of infertility, decrease pregnancy rates, and extend the time it takes to conceive a baby. Cigarettes and tobacco contain a lot of harmful chemicals that accelerate the depletion of ovules.

Some studies have also shown that overconsumption of caffeine, alcohol, and some recreational drugs such as marijuana can also increase infertility rates in both men and women.

It’s recommended that couples trying to conceive significantly reduce and monitor their weekly caffeine and alcohol intake and try to refrain from drug use altogether during the process.

Fertility Treatments at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

If you and your significant other are struggling to conceive a child, then ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo is here to help. We offer compassionate and caring infertility counselling and treatment options such as IVF or IUI that can be customized to accommodate your specific circumstances. Contact our fertility clinic today to learn all about our treatment options or to book an appointment with one of our esteemed specialists.


4271 King St East, Suite 200
Kitchener, ON
N2P 2X7

Working Hours

Monday-Friday: 7am-3pm
Saturday-Sunday: 8am-12pm

Contact Us

Phone: 519.650.0011
Fax: 519.650.0033