Many young girls dream of being a mother someday in the distant future. Then life happens and the future isn’t as distant as it once was. Women who were unable to have children were dismissed for centuries as “barren” and less than.
Unfortunately, some of that stigma still remains, but as we learn more about the many factors that can affect fertility, women are taking control of their reproductive systems.
Treatment options for fertility issues are growing with every innovation in the field of reproduction. A woman’s ability or inability to get pregnant is less of a taboo subject than ever before. Women are openly sharing their struggles and successes in safe places. You can look at mcrmfertility.com and other similar sites to read about them and learn more about fertility.
Will These Factors Put Your Fertility at Risk?
There’s never a perfect time to have a child, but there is a perfect time to consider the possible risk factors that affect fertility. And that time is now, not the distant future. These 7 factors can negatively affect the chances of getting pregnant.
Almost every day, there’s a male celebrity in his 70s announcing the impending birth of his 7th child with his much-younger wife. For whatever reason, men were given the ability to create children long after the age of which women are no longer fertile.
For women, the chances of getting pregnant decrease slightly every year after the age of 20. By the time a woman turns 45, she only has a 15% chance of getting pregnant. And even then, the chances of miscarriage are greatly increased compared to younger women. Parents magazine breaks down women’s chances of conceiving at different stages of their lives.
- Lifestyle Choices
Many of our mothers smoked when they were pregnant with us. However, they have the excuse of not knowing better. At this point, you’d have to live under a rock not to know that smoking and drinking are pregnancy no-nos. However, lack of sleep and other lifestyle choices that create a hormone imbalance can also lead to problems conceiving.
Stress, depression and other mental health problems can wreak havoc on the body’s hormones. The menstrual cycle, including ovulation, can disappear when a woman is under enormous amounts of stress. Learning how to lower and manage your stress levels can have a positive effect in many areas of your life, especially fertility.
- Untreated STDs
Many women (and men!) go years with untreated STDs, either from embarrassment or simply not knowing they are infected. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two types of STDs that can affect fertility. Unless you are actively trying to conceive, protective measures should be used with every partner, even a monogamous one. Annual screenings are easily included in routine doctor appointments.
- Previous Illness
Life-saving medical treatments for illnesses such as cancer or ovarian cysts can affect a woman’s chances of later conceiving a child. Chemotherapy can put a woman into premature menopause. Many doctors recommend that women undergo egg freezing procedures before radiation or other treatments.
Genetics is about more than hair color and dimpled cheeks. For women, the age they will go into menopause is greatly predicted by the age their mother, sisters or other female relatives experienced it. Unfortunately, women can also inherit the breast or ovarian cancer gene, which may result in the necessity of chemotherapy to treat it.
If you watch the television show This Is Us, you’re familiar with the storyline of an overweight woman disregarding advice from her doctors about how her weight could cause difficulty in conceiving. As uncomfortable and difficult it is to discuss, being overweight or underweight can lead to fertility issues. Your primary doctor can advise you if your weight could be a problem when trying for a baby.
Maybe, Baby (Someday)
Maybe being pregnant is the last thing on your mind right now. However, if you’re of child-bearing age and hope to have a baby someday, your fertility should be, at the very least, in the back of your mind. Lowering or eliminating the common factors that affect fertility now can save you a lot of heartache when the time comes when you DO want to get pregnant.