Factors Affecting Fertility

Infertility means inability to become pregnant after trying in a proper manner for one year.There are numerous factors that can affect an individual’s fertility such as age, weight, alcohol, drugs or smoking, diet, exercise, etc.

Age

Fertility decreases as a woman ages because of are duction in the number of eggs that remain in her ovaries. As men age, the testes become flabby and even the sperm shape, number and their ability to move (motility) tend to decrease.

Marriage

Fertility decreases with higher age, therefore late marriages may reduce the scope for becoming pregnant or having the desired number of children.

Joint Family

Lesser privacy and traditional taboos (social or religious customs) regarding sexual intercourse may delay childbearing.

Diet

A balanced diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins, fats,fibres, vitamins, minerals in the form of fruits,vegetables, meat, poultry, etc.,is shown to improve sperm and egg quality and,therefore, the chances of pregnancy.

Smoking

Smoking can reduce sperm count &affect the quality of sperms and semen(fluid that contains sperms) in men, whereas, in women, it can reduce the number and quality of eggs, further increasing the risk of abnormalities in the baby.

Alcohol

Alcohol consumption by women can increase the time it takes to get pregnant, reduce the chances of having a healthy baby, lead to pregnancy loss and death of the foetus.In men, it can alter these men and sperm quality as well as reduce testosterone (male hormone) levels.

Drug Abuse

Drug abuse(marijuana or cocaine, etc.)can reduce testosterone levels and produce abnormal sperms. In women, it can make it difficult to get pregnant and also cause stillbirth (baby born dead after 24 weeks of pregnancy).

Stress

Stress can contribute to loss of sex drive (libido), which, in turn, can reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse. Severe stress may also affect timing of ovulation and sperm production. Failure to conceive, in turn, leads to stress.

Literacy

Education improves awareness in women although it may raise the age at marriage as career and financial stability become a priority. Also, contraception awareness has led to couples opting for small families.

Consanguinity (Being Related by Blood Such as First or Second Cousins)

Consanguineous marriages increase the risk of abnormality in the foetus as well as illness and death of the baby after delivery.

Occupational Factors

Exposure to certain pesticides, metals, high temperatures, chemicals, radiation, etc., can reduce fertility in both men and women.

Weight

Being overweight or being underweight can lead to a lot of difficulty in becoming pregnant. Overweight men may have poor sperm quality while women may have hormonal imbalance and increased chances of miscarriage and diabetes.

Mobile Phones and Laptops

Radiations emitted by cell phones (kept in the pants pocket) and laptops (kept on the lap)can affect sperm quality and quantity and have an adverse effect on the eggs.

Exercise

Physical activity done in moderation helps improve fertility. However, excessive exercise can disturb a woman's monthly cycle, leading to ovulation and menstrual problems. In men, it can affect sperm production by increasing the temperature ofthe testes (male reproductive organs).

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