Factors That Affect Female Fertility

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Fertility Leave a Comment

It is estimated that over 10% of women aged 15-44 are unable to become pregnant. Listed below are some of the factors that contribute to infertility, including those which are preventable .

5 Factors That Affect Female Fertility


Stress has the ability to not only decrease fertility, but it may also play a role in how a developing child will respond to stressful situations as they grow up. In one study, it was found that women with the highest stress levels had a 12% decrease in their fertility. When you are under a high amount of stress, your body gets the signal that the environment is not safe for a baby. It makes sense.

Why would your body allow you to become pregnant when it perceives your environment barely livable for you?


It's no secret that trans fats are bad for your health. The Harvard School of Public Health cites that trans fats can actually increase a woman's chance of infertility.

Diets low in fiber, fruits and vegetables are lacking nutrients necessary for optimal hormones and conception. Alcohol has also been found to decrease a woman's fertility.

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In an article published in the Journal of Human Reproduction, it was estimated that for every BMI over 29, there is a 4% reduction in pregnancy success.

There have also been several studies which have found that obesity can result in a higher incidence of miscarriages. Of course, being too thin also inhibits your ability to become and maintain a pregnancy.


More and more women are waiting until their mid to late 30's to begin a family. When we are in our 20's we have about a 80% chance of becoming pregnant within 6 months. However, at age 35 we see that number decline to 60% and continues to decrease as we age. Unfortunately, age is the one factor we can not reverse.

There are, however, other modifiable factors that play a role in women's fertility.


From our make-up to our food, we are bombarded with chemicals that are known endocrine (hormone) disruptors. Parabens (moisturizers, personal products), BPA (cans, plastic bottles, receipt paper), phthalates (personal products) and triclosan (antibacterial soaps) are among the culprits that effect our ability to reproduce. The impact of long term exposure to these chemicals are not fully understood, however, it would serve you to read your labels and avoid exposure to these ingredients.

Avoiding exposure to cigarettes, including second hand smoke, can also lower your body's chemical burden and create a better environment for conception.

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About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

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Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.