Infertility Risk Factors for Women

Infertility risk factors for women can interfere with successful conception

Having a baby is one of the greatest joys of life. But for approximately 6.7 million women in the U.S., infertility is a painful and harsh reality. The diagnosis of infertility is given when a couple has tried unsuccessfully to conceive for one year or longer. When a woman struggles to conceive, she’s left with many questions, namely: Why?

Female factors contribute to approximately 40% of infertility cases. The fertility specialists at Dallas IVF help to shed some light on the common infertility factors for women.

Age is one of the most common infertility risk factors for women

As a woman ages, her fertility starts to decline as a result of her ovaries producing fewer eggs. A woman’s egg quantity and quality begins to sharply decline in her mid-30s, and deterioration accelerates rapidly in her late 30s, making conception more challenging. There’s also an increased risk of miscarriage in later years. Statistics show that about 1/3 of couples in which the woman is older than 35 have fertility problems.

Other contributing female infertility factors include:

Underlying medical conditions A woman’s inability to conceive may be caused by medical conditions that damage or block the fallopian tubes, interfere with ovulation or cause hormonal complications. Such conditions include pelvic inflammatory disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, premature ovarian failure, endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for approximately 25% of all female infertility problems.

Weight Extreme weight levels—either too high or too low—can lead to infertility. Women with a body mass index (BMI) above 30 are likely to take longer to conceive, while a BMI of less than 19 may cause a woman to ovulate less frequently. Approximately 12% of all infertility cases are a result of the woman either weighing too little or too much.

Smoking Cigarette smoking has many adverse effects on a woman’s fertility. It damages the ovaries and prematurely depletes a woman’s egg supply. Smoking can also lead to ectopic pregnancy and increases the risk of miscarriage.

Alcohol Excessive alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of ovulation disorders and endometriosis and is among the infertility risk factors for women.

STDs Certain sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and damage to the fallopian tubes if left untreated.

Stress While it’s not yet clear why, stress is believed to negatively affect hormones that regulate reproduction and ovulation.

Knowing the infertility risk factors for women and taking action—either by making lifestyle changes or seeking the advice and treatment of one of our Dallas IVF fertility specialists—will bring you closer to realizing your dream of having a baby. Contact us today for more information.