Pregnancy: Trying to Conceive

Quick GuideBoost Your Fertility: Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Planning and More

Boost Your Fertility: Ovulation Calculator, Pregnancy Planning and More

Lifestyle factors

Certain lifestyle factors also can have a negative effect on a woman's fertility. Examples include smoking, alcohol use, weighing much more or much less than an ideal body weight, a lot of strenuous exercise, and having an eating disorder. Stress also can affect fertility.

Unlike women, some men remain fertile into their 60s and 70s. But as men age, they might begin to have problems with the shape and movement of their sperm. They also have a slightly higher risk of sperm gene defects. Or they might produce no sperm, or too few sperm. Lifestyle choices also can affect the number and quality of a man's sperm. Alcohol and drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality. And researchers are looking at whether environmental toxins, such as pesticides and lead,  may be to blame for some cases of infertility. Men also can have health problems that affect their sexual and reproductive function. These can include sexually transmitted infections (STIs), diabetes, surgery on the prostate gland, or a severe testicle injury or problem.

When to see your doctor

You should talk to your doctor about your fertility if:

  • You are younger than 35 and have not been able to conceive after one year of frequent sex without birth control.
  • You are age 35 or older and have not been able to conceive after six months of frequent sex without birth control.
  • You believe you or your partner might have fertility problems in the future (even before you begin trying to get pregnant).
  • You or your partner has a problem with sexual function or libido.

Happily, doctors are able to help many infertile couples go on to have babies.

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