Factors That Contribute To Infertility

Age is a key factor: A woman’s age is one of the most important factors affecting whether she is able to conceive and give birth to a healthy child. Dr Heylen president of the Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), says up to 50% of all patients who visit a fertility centre are 35 years or older. She highlights that a man’s fertility appears to decline later in life than in a woman’s. If you and your partner do want children, but are not ready to take this step yet, it might be worth looking into fertility options and fertility preservation such as freezing your eggs, for when you are ready to start a family.

Lifestyle factors: Infertility is also associated with lifestyle factors such as smoking, body weight and stress.

Her eggs: The number and quality of eggs decreases and deteriorate naturally and progressively from the time a woman is born until the time she reaches menopause. 

Reproductive conditions: Fibroids, endometriosis and tubal disease are more common and can affect fertility.

Family history: If you have any of the following risk factors, you should also consider seeking advice earlier:

  • Family history of a mother or sister who experienced early menopause- before age 51.
  • Previous ovarian surgery
  • Exposure to chemotherapy or radiation to treat cancer in either partner
  • Shortening in the time between periods
  • Skipped or missed periods
  • History of injury to the testicles
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals like pesticides.
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