Are you planning to start a family? Perhaps you have already been trying for one but have been unsuccessful so far. What is the cause of this infertility? Are there any factors which influence your reproductive abilities? Let’s find out.

How age impacts fertility

There is no denying the fact that as we grow old, our bodies lose a lot of their regenerative capabilities. One of them is that of reproduction. Women are born with a finite number of eggs in their ovarian follicles, often referred to as the ‘ovarian reserve’. From the age of 30, this egg count starts to decline. Additionally, the quality of the egg also declines which can result in complications during pregnancy.

Similarly, for men as they grow older, sperm count, motility, and sperm quality declines (albeit slower), adding another potential barrier to conception. These changes can all make conception a bit trickier.

Do health issues also impact fertility?

It’s normal to assume that when the time is right, and you are ready to start a family, you’ll get pregnant without any issues. But the truth is that this isn’t always the case. Many women aren’t aware that certain health conditions can impact fertility. If you are someone who has ongoing health issues such as endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), any chronic or genetic health condition(s), it is possible that your fertility could be impacted.

Studies have shown that women with health conditions such as endometriosis may face an infertility diagnosis. Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial tissue (the lining of the uterus) grows outside of the uterus, causing adhesions and scarring. The cells from the uterine lining can grow around the fallopian tubes and ovaries – even other organs. This condition can also cause inflammation, which impacts gamete production and ovulation. Moreover, it can also prevent transport of the egg through the fallopian tubes and may even result in implantation failure, which reduces your chances of conception significantly.

When consulting with a fertility doctor, it is important to share your full medical history so they can plan your fertility journey accordingly and suggest the best treatment options for you.

Lifestyle factors affecting fertility

If you thought your fertility levels were only dependent on age and health, think again. Another important factor during any pregnancy journey is the lifestyle an individual or couple is leading.

In this day and age, it is almost impossible to live a life without stress. Whether it’s from your professional life or personal life, any sort of stress can increase your cortisol levels which can in turn impact your reproductive system. Studies have shown that stress negatively impacts the health and quality of both egg and sperm.

For many people, the easiest way to deal with stress is smoking or alcohol. If you are someone who belongs to this group, you may be surprised to know that this is even more harmful for your body. Practising techniques such as meditation, mindfulness, journalling or a walk jog in the park, can help you reduce stress and clear your mind while providing additional benefits for your overall wellbeing.

Couple this with a balanced diet which is rich in nutrients such as zinc, folate and proteins to really support your fertility.

Your fertility levels can improve

If you are facing trouble getting pregnant, fret not, because your fertility can improve with the right guidance. Your fertility specialist may suggest additional testing to diagnose any problems. Most fertility doctors will recommend a fertility test for women called the Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test. This is a great place to start as it gives an idea of your ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have). They may also suggest an aqua scan and/or transvaginal ultrasound scan. These can assist your fertility doctor in ruling out underlying conditions that may be preventing you from conceiving.

If you’re concerned about your fertility at all, accepting that you may need help can feel overwhelming and disheartening, but it’s an important first step to your dreams becoming a reality.