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Risk Factors for Infertility in Women
A medical risk factor may increase or decrease your chances of getting a disease or condition. Although a person with specific risk factors may be at an increased risk, anyone can develop infertility. Having one or more of the risk factors listed below does not necessarily mean that you will develop infertility. If you do have specific risk factors, talk with your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk.
Woman over 35 are more likely to have fertility problems. The ovaries become less effective in producing eggs that can be successfully fertilized.
Disorders of the reproductive tract and/or infection and trauma are more likely with advancing age.
Many medical conditions influence the risk of infertility.
Conditions That Influence Ovarian Function
Conditions That May Damage or Block Fallopian Tubes
Other Medical Conditions or Diseases
Any chronic medical condition may reduce the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Many of the drugs listed below are extremely important for treating serious and chronic conditions. Do not cut back or stop your medicines on your own. Discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider. In some cases, the following drugs may increase your risk of infertility:
These medicines have received lay-press coverage as possible causes of infertility. There is very limited evidence of a causal effect in humans. You should notify your doctor if you are taking these medicines on a daily basis, and discuss possible withdrawal from these drugs.
Very high or very low levels of body fat often affect hormone levels, which can alter ovarian function. A certain amount of body fat cells in women are needed to produce sufficient estrogen along with the ovaries.
Excessive exercise is often associated with low levels of body fat but may influence fertility through other means as well.
Smoking cigarettes and passive exposure to cigarette smoke may reduce fertility.
Caffeine consumption, in the form of coffee, tea, or soft drinks, has been linked to infertility in some studies.
Alcohol consumption, even in moderation, appears to reduce fertility.
Many work activities, such as standing for long periods of time or being chronically exposed to dust or loud noises, increase the risk of infertility. Other evidence suggests that the risk of infertility may be higher in women who frequently switch from working day shifts to night shifts. Job-related exposure to high temperatures, chemicals, radiation, pesticides, and other toxic substances have also been linked to infertility in women.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org. Accessed November 2009.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Diabetes and pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org. Accessed July 2010.
American Medical Association website. Available at: http://www.ama-assn.org.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine website. Available at: http://www.asrm.org.
Cronin M, Schellschmidt I, Dinger J. Rate of pregnancy after using drospirenone and other progestin-containing oral contraceptives. Obstet Gynecol. 2009;114:616-622.
International Council on Infertility Information Dissemination, Inc. website. Available at: http://www.inciid.org.
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association website. Available at: http://www.resolve.org.
United States National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov.
6/5/2009 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance https://dynamed.ebscohost.com/about/about-us: Luttjeboer FY, Verhoeve HR, van Dessel HJ, et al. The value of medical history taking as risk indicator for tuboperitoneal pathology: a systematic review. BJOG. 2009;116:612-625.
Last reviewed October 2012 by Andrea Chisholm
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