Lifestyle and fertility

Your day to day lifestyle may directly affect your fertility.

Lifestyle and fertility

As with most areas of health, the way we live our lives can impact on how well our body functions. The most common lifestyle factors associated with reduced fertility are as follows:

Increased female age

The chances of achieving a pregnancy fall sharply after the age of 35. By 40, even though a woman may still be menstruating normally, the quality of her remaining eggs is reduced and the chances of conception are low. This is a limiting factor not only for normal conception but also in IVF. A variety of tests may be employed to give a better prediction of ovarian reserve than age alone.

Diet and BMI

Diet and BMI (body mass index) play an important role in the proper functioning of the male and female reproductive systems. Women who are overweight or underweight are less likely to conceive compared to those who have a BMI between 18 and 25.


Stopping smoking is advised for both partners. The carcinogens in cigarettes are harmful to sperm and eggs and they reduce the overall chances of pregnancy.


Alcohol intake can affect fertility. Whilst trying to conceive, consumption should be limited to no more than a few drinks a week for each partner.


Stress is believed to have a negative impact on the chances of conception. Doing whatever you can to be calm and relaxed during this difficult time is recommended.