Trying to get pregnant and wondering how to prevent infertility? Or maybe you’re not ready to get pregnant but preventing infertility is important for your future family.
Although some infertility problems are not preventable, there are actions you can take to prevent some fertility problems. Here are five keys steps you must know in how to prevent infertility for women and men.
How to prevent infertility for women:
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. For women, the rules on drinking alcohol and using recreational drugs are the same for preventing infertility as they are for men. Heavy alcohol use and drug use increase the chances of ovulation disorders and endometriosis, which can lead to infertility. If you are a smoker, stopping now may help in preventing infertility. In addition to causing damage to your cervix and fallopian tubes, smoking can bring about early menopause by aging your ovaries and draining your egg supply. Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage.
- Try to get pregnant while you’re young. The younger you are when you try to conceive, the better chance you have of preventing infertility. That’s because your fertility declines after age 35 and continues to decline with each passing year. The number of eggs you produce (along with the quality of those eggs) decreases as you age. Even high-tech fertility treatments are more effective in younger women.
- Maintain a healthy weight. More tips in how to prevent infertility in women include avoiding eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia which can hinder ovulation and cause the eggs to develop improperly. Being overweight or underweight can stop ovulation. Excessive exercise, which many women do to stay trim, can also cause irregular periods or a total absence of periods. Cut back to moderate exercise if preventing infertility is important to you.
- Be safe in your sexual lifestyle. Practicing “safe sex” is an important key in how to prevent infertility in women. STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can lead to infertility. Abstinence is the safest way to ensure you will not get an STD. Otherwise, stay in a monogamous relationship where you both have been tested for STDs.
How to prevent infertility for men:
- Have safe sex. Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause scarring and block the sperm passage. Men should practice “safe sex” by staying in a monogamous relationship, wearing condoms or practicing abstinence.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Smoking marijuana or using any recreational drug or alcohol has an effect on sperm count and motility and is linked to male infertility. Stopping drug and heavy alcohol use is important in preventing infertility. Smoking cigarettes and exposure to secondhand smoke can also impact fertility. In addition, anabolic steroid use has been shown to promote testicular atrophy, reduce sperm count and quality and even lead to sterility. Talk to your partner now about stopping drug or alcohol use to help in preventing infertility.
- Be aware of everyday exposure. Has your partner asked you how to prevent infertility in men? If so, here’s how: Suggest that he avoid exposure to certain environmental toxins. That’s because exposure to pesticides and other chemicals may cause female hormone-like effects in men, which can decrease sperm count. Lead-based paints, mercury, boron, or other poisonous substances may also decrease sperm production. Avoiding x-rays, if possible, is important in preventing infertility in men as radiation can impair sperm production. If your partner has undergone radiation treatment for cancer, there may be a higher risk of infertility if the radiation was used near his testicles. Other everyday steps your partner can take in preventing infertility include avoiding extreme heat like hot tubs, saunas, or hot showers.
- Monitor exercise and diet. More tips in how to prevent infertility in men include eating a well-balanced diet and taking a multivitamin so the “future father” gets plenty of nutritional support. Also, if your partner engages in excessive exercise, ask him to cut back just a little. Excessive exercise is linked to a decrease in sperm production. In addition, cutting some calories each day may help in preventing infertility, if he’s overweight. Overweight or obese men have hormone changes that may reduce male sperm production and motility.
Think about your future family
Even if you’re not ready to get pregnant yet, it’s important to plan ahead! Then follow the above-mentioned keys for added help in how to prevent infertility.
- IntegraMed: Prevention of Infertility: Effects of Smoking, Diet, Age and Stress.
- American Pregnancy Association: Male Infertility.
- American Pregnancy Association: Female Infertility.
- Mayo Clinic: Male Infertility
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Age and Fertility. A Guide for Patients.
- IntegraMed: Can we wait to get pregnant?