A number of factors can affect your chances of conceiving. If any of these factors listed below affects (or you think may affect) you, talk to your health provider on what steps you should take now, before trying to conceive:
- Age. One of the biggest factors is your age, since fertility declines over time. For example, the average healthy 30-year-old has about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month she tries. By age 40, the odds drop to less than 5 percent each month.
- Sexually transmitted infections. Untreated STIs may have no symptoms in women (usually gonorrhea and chlamydia) and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID, in turn, can cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes, uterus and surrounding tissues, making it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. Fortunately, timely treatment of STIs can help you to avoid PID (which is why you should see your gynaecologist regularly regularly if you’re sexually active with more than one partner and not using condoms). Treating STIs is also important for men who want to get their wife’s pregnant as you do not want your newborn infected with syphilis as you may lose the baby in miscarriage, stillbirth, or soon after birth, or your baby may be born with severe neurological problems or bone and teeth deformities or vision and hearing loss Syphilis also increases the risk of premature birth. My advice is for all couples to go for STI testing and treatment before conceiving.
- Weight. Having an overweight or obese BMI can cause the body to produce too much estrogen, which can throw off the reproductive cycle — while being underweight can shut down ovulation. According to the ASRM, 12 percent of all infertility cases are a result of a woman weighing either too little or too much. To calculate your BMI, you need to know your weight and height and use the simple formula: weight divided by height x height. Or you can check here
- Health issues. Endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), uterine fibroids and abnormalities of the uterus caused by previous surgeries, unsafe abortion or scarring can reduce fertility. Other illnesses, left untreated, (including kidney disease, untreated celiac disease, thyroid disease and sickle cell anemia in men) may also affect pregnancy odds.
- Irregular menstrual cycles. If your cycles are irregular — whether due to hormonal imbalances like Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) , weight issues or medications you take — it can be tougher to figure out when you’re ovulating. And not knowing when to do the deed makes it tougher to get pregnant.
- Autoimmune disorders. Lupus or rheumatoid arthritis can affect a man and woman’s chances of getting or staying pregnant.
- Smoking. Up to 13 percent of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). That goes for men, too, since smoking can reduce sperm production.
- Occupational exposure to environmental toxins. Some research has shown that prolonged exposure to pesticides, pollutants and industrial chemicals — which usually occurs in certain jobs — can decrease a couple’s chances of conceiving. For women, these toxins can disrupt the menstrual cycle or sex hormone production and reduce fertility, while men may have low hormone levels, a lower sex drive, reduction in the number of sperm or semen amount, or erectile dysfunction.
- Excessive exercise. Even if your weight is just right, exercising too hard (or long) can affect baby-making. A 2012 study found that normal-weight women (those with a BMI between 18 & 25) who exercised vigorously for more than five hours a week had a harder time getting pregnant. But that doesn’t mean you should let your gym membership lapse: Regular, moderate exercise will slightly increase fertility for all women (normal weight, overweight or obese).