Lifestyle choices, including your fertility, can have a significant impact on your overall health and well-being. Most lifestyles, age, food, exercise, weight, stress level and sleep quality are somehow linked to fertility, where fertility affects physical and mental health, occupational and environmental exposures, substance and medication use and abuse.
The fertility of both men and women decreases with age, and the most important factor determining a woman’s ability to conceive and deliver a healthy child is her age. In an interview for HT Lifestyle Dr. R. Suchindra, consultant in reproductive medicine at Milann in Bangalore, explained: “Early in the 30s, a woman’s fertility starts to decline; around the age of 35, this decline becomes more pronounced. A man’s age affects the probability that his wife (woman) will become pregnant. Men over 45 are more likely to have an abortion and have children with developmental and mental problems.”
He added: “Obese men have a reduced sperm count and poorer sperm quality. Underweight in women is associated with both ovarian dysfunction and infertility. Both male and female fertility are reduced by substance use, which includes excessive drinking, marijuana use, tobacco use, and illegal narcotics such as heroin and cocaine.
Dr. Malti Madhu, Senior Fertility and IVF Consultant at Apollo Fertility, Noida, brings her expertise to the same end: “Scientific evidence suggests that modifiable lifestyle factors (eating a high-fat diet, delayed childbearing/age at family initiation, smoking, abuse alcohol, sexual behaviour, anxiety/depression and perceptions/beliefs) play an important role in the overall well-being of individuals, including fertility. Several factors such as genetic, environmental and behavioral factors contribute to the increasing trend of overweight and obesity. Fortunately, most causes of infertility are treatable with assisted reproductive technology (ART).
She insisted that normalizing some modifiable lifestyle factors could restore normal oocyte maturation in women and improve sperm quality in men, revealing:
1. A high-fat diet inhibits reproduction by affecting the physical and molecular structure not only of sperm but also of the developing fetus and offspring.
2. In men, smoking has been observed to reduce sperm concentration, morphology and motility, as well as increase DNA damage
3. In females, smoking can lead to an increased thickness of the egg shell in smokers, which makes it more difficult for sperm to penetrate. Alcohol depletes the body of many essential nutrients that are needed for most functions, including reproduction.
4. Exercise is beneficial for overweight or obese infertile women.
5. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and choosing foods that are conducive to achieving pregnancy.