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Am I at risk for fertility problems?

Featuring content from MediResource Inc.

A number of factors can affect fertility. Risk factors for infertility can depend on whether you're a man or a woman. And while a risk factor may increase the chance that you will have fertility problems, it does not necessarily mean that you will have fertility problems.

For women, one of the main risk factors is age. Fertility decreases with age, particularly after age 35 for women. You should consider seeking help at a fertility clinic (find a fertility clinic near you) if:

  • you are under 35 and unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse
  • you are 35 to 37 and unable to conceive after 6 months of regular, unprotected intercourse
  • you are over 37 (women over 37 do not need to wait 6 months before seeing a doctor, because waiting too long to seek help could harm their chances of conceiving)

Other risk factors for women include:

  • medical conditions that affect the reproductive system, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis (tissue that is normally found only in the uterus is found outside the uterus on the ovaries or other pelvic organs), blocked fallopian tubes, or fibroids
  • exposure to sexually transmitted infections
  • cancer treatments (e.g., chemotherapy or radiation)

For men, risk factors for fertility problems include:

  • age. Although increasing age does not affect fertility to the same extent as it does for women, age is still an important factor. As a man gets older, the quality of his sperm may decrease and his testosterone levels decrease (which may affect his sex drive).
  • medical conditions that affect the reproductive system and may increase the chances of fertility problems, such as scrotal varicocele (varicose vein around a testicle), retrograde ejaculation, and undescended testis
  • exposure to sexually transmitted infections
  • cancer treatments (e.g., chemotherapy or radiation)

Learn more about common reasons for infertility for women and men.

For both women and women, certain lifestyle factors may affect their fertility. These include:

  • smoking
  • being overweight or obese
  • drinking too much alcohol or caffeine

If you are having trouble conceiving, you're not alone. About 11.5% to 15.7% of Canadian couples have infertility. With proper fertility care, many couples have successfully conceived and had children despite initially facing problems with fertility.

The good news is that you can take steps to improve your chances of conceiving. For example, if your weight is putting you at risk for fertility problems, reaching and maintaining a healthy weight may increase your chances of conceiving. Learn more about living a healthy lifestyle to help improve fertility.

If you are concerned about fertility issues, you should consider seeing your doctor about your fertility. You can find a doctor who specializes in fertility using the fertility clinic locator.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Infertility-More-common-than-you-may-think