Factors That Affect Female Fertility

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 .

Age
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 withint 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.

Stress
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.

Nutrition
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.

Weight
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.

Environment
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 is a Functional Medicine Naturopathic Doctor and the founder of Rubus Health, a women’s medicine clinic that specializes in women's hormones. She is recognized as a leading expert in Post-Birth Control Syndrome and the long-term side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. Dr. Brighten is the best selling author, speaker and regular contributor to several online publications including MindBodyGreen. She is a medical advisor for one of the first data-driven apps to offer women personalized birth control recommendations.