Risk factorsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Some things may put you at higher risk of infertility. They include:
- Age. After age 32, the quantity and the quality of a woman's eggs begin to decline. In your mid-30s, the rate of follicle loss accelerates, resulting in fewer and poorer quality eggs, making conception more challenging. Women over 35 are also at a higher risk of miscarriage and having babies with chromosomal abnormalities.
- Smoking. Besides damaging your cervix and fallopian tubes, smoking increases your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It's also thought to age your ovaries and deplete your eggs prematurely, reducing your ability to get pregnant. Many fertility specialists recommend setting a date to quit smoking before beginning fertility treatment.
- Weight. If you're overweight or significantly underweight, it may inhibit normal ovulation. Getting to a healthy body mass index (BMI) has been shown to increase the frequency of ovulation and likelihood of pregnancy.
- Sexual history. Sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause fallopian tube damage. Having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners increases your chances of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that may cause fertility problems later.
- Alcohol. Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of ovulation disorders and endometriosis.
- Caffeine. Consuming more than the equivalent of six cups of coffee a day (900 milligrams of caffeine) may decrease your fertility.
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