Understanding the factors that may affect fertility

Infertility is a common occurrence for couples. Millions of women each year have trouble getting pregnant or experience multiple miscarriages.

There may be multiple factors affecting your ovulation, fertilization and implantation – the phases necessary to become pregnant.

Some risk factors for infertility include:

  • Age (infertility risk increases after age 30)
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Being overweight or underweight
  • Drug, tobacco and alcohol use
  • STDs, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Athletic training

If you are diagnosed with infertility, your doctor might recommend treatment options depending on your specific circumstances. Common treatments may include:

  • Fertility drugs
  • Surgery for damaged female or male reproductive organs
  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization
  • Artificial insemination, donor eggs or gestational carriers

How to talk to your doctor

Start by telling your doctor when you decide to begin a family. If you've been trying to get pregnant for an entire year without success, ask your doctor about a fertility evaluation and ask your husband or partner to do the same.

Consider seeing your doctor sooner if:

  • You're under 35 and have been trying for six months
  • Your periods are irregular or painful
  • You have endometriosis or a pelvic inflammatory disease