Causes - Lifestyle Factors - Treatment

Lifestyle choices you make may affect your chances of success with fertility treatments, reducing your chances of pregnancy. In this section, we review treatment options and lifestyle factors that affect fertility. 

Smoking
Not only are cigarettes giving you wrinkles, bad breath, and yellow teeth, but smoking may also decrease your chances of success with fertility treatments. Studies show that smokers are less likely to get pregnant with Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedures than other women. When smokers do conceive with ART, they are more likely to miscarry than their nonsmoking peers. Smokers may also be more likely to need higher doses of fertility drug treatments like Clomid and other drugs to help them conceive, which can be expensive and a burden. When trying fertility treatments, stop smoking to increase your chances of getting pregnant. Studies show that female smokers may increase their chances of conceiving by quitting at least two months before trying to get pregnant. 

Weight
Fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not as successful for obese women as they are for women who are at a healthy weight. But there is good news for those who are trying to lose more than a few pounds. At least one study reports that obese women with ovulation problems showed improved fertility after weight loss. If you are overweight or obese and trying to get pregnant, discuss weight loss options with your doctor.

Many people know about the fertility risks of carrying too much weight. But being underweight can also cause problems with fertility. It’s best to seek professional help right away if you are underweight and suffer from an eating disorder or if you think your low body weight is connected to your fertility problems. 

Chemicals and environmental factors
What about your daily exposure to chemicals in the environment? If you are trying to conceive and undergoing fertility treatments, limit your exposure to chemicals you use around the house, especially pesticides. Choose the following items carefully, and go with chemical-free, natural alternatives whenever possible.

  • Cleaning products
  • Medications and beauty products
  • Plastic containers and plastic bottles
  • Linings of metal food cans
  • Toys for infants and children

In coming years, we should know much more about how chemicals affect human health and fertility. Until then, be smart and stay up-to-date on the latest news about chemicals and fertility.

STDs
A major step in preventing infertility due to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) is to become educated. While there’s no such thing as safe sex, having “safer sex” may help prevent STDs and infertility. And the only absolute way to protect yourself from an STD is through abstinence.

For the sexually active, new vaccines are being studied to help prevent the spread of fertility-compromising sexually transmitted diseases. Until they are available for all STDs, here are some ways you can prevent STDs and in doing so, also prevent infertility:

  • Use condoms each and every time you have sex
  • Be aware of the signs and symptoms of STIs
  • Seek STD treatment early

Prevention of STDs, along with early detection and treatment, can help lower your risk of infertility.