If you are ready to start or expand your family, fertility may be on your mind. And with good reason, as we often hear about conception statistics, fertility treatments and infertility issues from friends, family, and even the news.
The CDC says that 12% of women aged 15 to 44 years old in the United States have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying to term. Given this fact, there’s a lot of information floating around about fertility. While fertility is mostly determined by genetics, other influences and theories abound. Here are seven surprising facts about fertility you didn’t know:
1. There are Conflicting Facts About Diet’s Effect on Fertility
It always stands that having a well-rounded and generally healthy diet is ideal for improving any physical issue because it helps your body perform optimally. And there are certain things to avoid when trying to conceive. However, there is little, if any, scientific data showing that a specific diet or food increases fertility.
The things to watch out for? Caffeine should be limited to below 500mg a day when trying to conceive. Checking the caffeine content of coffee, coffee flavored items, tea, sodas, energy drinks, chocolates (especially those with high cocoa content), and painkillers like Excedrin is important. Also, alcohol consumption should be limited or avoided altogether when trying to conceive, for both men and women.
2. Basal Temperature Charting Might Not Always Predict Ovulation
Basal temperature has long been a key component of determining when a woman is ovulating. However, there is evidence that basal temperature may also increase after ovulation occurs. A more reliable method to determine ovulation is a urine test, available over the counter at pharmacies.
3. Sperm Counts Can Change a Lot Over Time
Just because a man has successfully fathered a child in the past, doesn’t mean he will be able to again. A variety of factors can cause a reduction in sperm count, including age and illness. So don’t rule out getting count and motility checked even if he has existing biological children.
4. Conception Rates for Women 43 and Older are Relatively Low
There have been many advances is medical knowledge and fertility treatments that make pregnancy possible for people who wouldn’t have been able to conceive in the past. However, this doesn’t change the biological fact that compared to those of younger women, conception rates for women over age 43 are low. This isn’t to say that it’s impossible to have a baby in your early to mid-40s, but it isn’t as common.
5. Smoking Reduces Your Conception Window
It has been shown that regular smoking can increase your fertility age by ten years. To be clearer: a 25-year-old smoker is about as fertile as a 35-year-old who doesn’t smoke. The good news is that if you stop smoking, your body begins to make repairs and your fertility will improve.
6. Weight Extremes in Either Direction Can Decrease Conception Chances
Being underweight is just as damaging to fertility as being overweight. Your body likes balance to work optimally. Either weight extreme can have an effect on ovulation. If you’re not ovulating regularly, your chances of conception are lower.
7. Infertility Affects Men Just as Much as Women
We often hear more about female fertility challenges than male. This can be for a variety of reasons. Many women, particularly in recent years, are more open about their struggles with fertility and conception with other women who may also be struggling. It could also be the fact that the woman is the one who physically carries the baby, so her body is under more scrutiny.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to know that men and women contribute equally to fertility problems. In any given couple there’s an even chance that it’s a male factor, female factor, or even a combination of both. In some cases, infertility is even unexplained.
For More Information
If you have concerns about fertility and your ability to conceive, Carolinas Fertility Institute offers fertility evaluations. CFI has convenient locations throughout North Carolina. To schedule an appointment, call (336 448-9100 (Triad) or (844) 686-223 (Charlotte)