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    Infertility Risk Factors for Men and Women

    For women

    Some factors can affect how easily a woman ovulates, gets pregnant, or delivers a child. These include:

    • Age. Women in their late 30s and older are generally less fertile than women in their early 20s.

    • Endometriosis

    • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension, and asthma

    • Hormone imbalance

    • Environmental factors. These include cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, and exposure to workplace hazards or toxins.

    • Too much body fat or very low body fat

    • Abnormal Pap smears that have been treated with cryosurgery or cone biopsy

    • DES taken by mother during pregnancy

    • Sexually transmitted diseases

    • Fallopian tube disease

    • Multiple miscarriages

    • Fibroids

    • Pelvic surgery

    • Abnormalities in the uterus that are present at birth or happen later in life

    For men

    Infertility is not just a woman's problem. Here is a list of things that can affect a man's fertility:

    • History of prostatitis, genital infection, or sexually transmitted diseases

    • Exposure to hazards on the job or to toxic substances. These include radiation, radioactivity, welding, and many chemicals. Toxic chemicals include lead, ethylene dibromine, and vinyl chloride.

    • Cigarette or marijuana smoke

    • Heavy alcohol drinking

    • Exposure of the genitals to high temperatures

    • Hernia repair

    • Undescended testicles

    • Prescription medicine. These include opioid-like medicines that affect the central nervous system. An example is medicines to treat mental illness.  

    • Mumps after puberty 

    • A genetic problem or a problem that was present at birth (congenital)

    Online Medical Reviewer: Burd, Irina, MD, PhD
    Online Medical Reviewer: Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP
    Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2018
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