Lifestyle factors affecting on reproductive function in male and female – A Complete Review

Lifestyle factors affecting on reproductive function in male and female – A Complete Review


  • Post By : Kumar Jeetendra
  • Source: Dynamic Fertility
  • Date: 03 May, 2019

Introduction –
Infertility is a worldwide issue affecting 15-18% of couples globally, amounting more than 45 million couples. In the era of increasing awareness, many things are changing and already changed.

Fertility is the ability to produce offspring and clinical infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 12 months of unprotected intercourse. Infertility is a significant public health problem with high medical and social costs. Causes of infertility are wide, including female’s ovulation disorders, damage in fallopian tube, uterus issue, chromosomal abnormalities, endometriosis, male sperm disorder such as low sperm count, less motility of sperm and unexplained infertility.

Lifestyle factors always have a major impact on reproductive performance; sometimes it is not conducive for fertility. Lifestyle practices increase the risk of infertility in both male as well as female; some of the lifestyle factors that cause trouble in pregnancy are – smoking, alcohol, environmental cause, improper diet, work culture etc.

Post-industrial western societies have dramatically changed the lifestyle of almost all the individuals and this is in turn affected or affecting reproductive health condition as well, for example- delayed pregnancy, lack of physical activities like yoga, exercise, intake of excess alcohol, smoking etc. let’s read these factors into details.

Lifestyle factors affecting female’s fertility –

Delayed marriages –

One of the most common issues in females of being infertile is her age, as the age of the women increases, her fertility potential becomes decline, turning her less fertile. Delayed marriages refer directly to the age factor. If the woman plans for her marriage after thirties, then no doubt, her fertility reduces. Any woman, who is above 30 or in her thirties age, may struggle for pregnancy. Priorities have got changed and so the marriages are. At an earlier age, the number and the quality of eggs are healthy enough and fit to fertilize with the sperm. Carrier priorities, future responsibilities- these are some of the major factors, why marriages are getting late.

A recent observation came by a study (noticing 100 pregnant women, how long it took them to get conceived; those women, who are at her 30, conceived within 3-4 month in 70-75% of all cases, women aged 36, conceived within 3-4 month in 40-42% of the case. A study of 2100 pregnant women (from UK) reported that, factors like BMI, smoking, intake of alcohol and other lifestyle factors affects the conceiving duration.

Smoking –

Cigarette is detrimental to the female’s health. Studies have shown that smoking not only cause trouble in getting pregnant but also it leads to lowered fertility potential in the future too. Heavy smokers at last take help from fertility clinics to undergo with their ART procedure (such as IVF, ICSI for men etc.). Smoking direct affects the chances of pregnancy even with ART technique as well, with a result, a case study suggested that smokers have to undergo with their IVF at least twice or thrice times to attain success.

Researchers have found that smokers, who have undergone their IVF cycle for the first time, 30-40% of these couples need to undergo their IVF again; on the other hand, couples, who are non-smokers, have more chances to their IVF accomplished at even first time (depending upon the cause of infertility). A diligent study of 251 couples from 7 infertility clinics found that if a female ever smoked in her lifetime, her likelihood of not becoming pregnant from IVF treatment becomes more than doubled RR 1⁄4 2.71 (95%CI 1.37 – 5.35, P , 0.01). This danger increased with each year of smoking.

Since we know that women are born with all the eggs they will ever have in their lifetime and once these eggs get damaged, there is no way to go back. Toxins inhaled from cigarette or smoke majorly affects fertility. The toxin when goes inside the body it damages to the reproductive organs such as ovarian follicles (where egg of the female grows into maturity), this in return causes premature aging of the ovaries and decrease in the count of eggs- these factors may lead to early menopause in women.

On the basis of recent research, those women who smoke one to ten cigarettes per day have a very hard time throughout their way to pregnancy; they face with miscarriage, poor embryo quality, low birth weight, premature birth or declined egg quality. So, to reduce all these risks, it is better to stay away from smoking.

Role of Alcohol –

Approximately, 45-48% of adult women reported intaking the alcohol in the last 30 days, 12%-15% of women reported for the consumption of binge drinking 2-3 times a month. According to the National survey, it has been stated about one in two women of her child bearing age, i.e. the age of 18-35, drinks alcohol and 15-18% of adult women, who consume alcohol in this age group binge drink (binge drink is simply defined as the alcohol consumption, which brings the BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) level to 0.08% or more).

Women, who consume alcohol during the pregnancy or even before the pregnancy, their risk of having a baby are with FASD – Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder- that causes mental retardation or other issue at baby’s birth time.

Women who really want to reduce the chances of risk in her pregnancy, the best option is not to drink alcohol at all during her pregnancy. However, if the woman is planning to get conceived (say after few months) and still she is in her daily alcohol habit then she may have the risks of low birth weight, poor embryo quality or even preterm birth. Alcohol makes women less fertile.

Stress & Depression – a major role in female fertility –

It has been researched, women, who had high level of alpha-amylase in saliva (alpha-amylase is an enzyme that marks stress), took 30% delay to get pregnant compared to those women, who had less alpha-amylase. A systemic increase in the proinfalmmatory cytokines is noticed during excess stress that in turn exerts influence on the progression of depression. A negative association was also remarked between embryo implantation rate and female negative life events.

High rates of perceived anxiety as well as anxiety if combines with depression are more common in females than in male partners. Reduced stress and depression is good for female’s fertility. There are some of best techniques to make the women in comfort zone during pregnancy such as acupuncture, music, meditation etc.

Diet –

To have a healthy diet, it is necessary to maintain appropriate composition and caloric intake in the food. Diet maintains the entire weight of the body and if the diet contains nutrition and healthy composition of exact calories, then during the pregnancy, the female won’t suffer any kind of hurdle and the baby too, will be healthy. Reproductive health is directly linked with the consumption of a healthy diet.

Increased interval between second child leads to secondary infertility in females. Environmental factor also influences female infertility cause. Usage of contraception also affects fertility condition.

By adopting few positive aspects in our live, anyone can boost their fertility and improve reproductive health condition.

Conclusive evidence –

The above evidences related with smoking, age factor, alcohol, shows that there is strong link between the lifestyle factors and causes risk on female fertility. It has been seen that fertility rate increases 10 fold with 10% decreased in body weight.

Lifestyle factors affecting male’s fertility –

Smoking hurt male fertility –

Question comes here, does smoking hurt sperms? YES! It does, smoking is injurious for health and can create obstacle to attain fatherhood.

Studies have found that smoking is directly associated with sperms motility, decreased sperm count, abnormal shape of sperms (or morphologically damaged). Those men who smokes frequently, have far less count of sperms compared to non-smoker men.

Intake of Alcohol –

Work culture or Occupational exposures play an important role in each individual life and Trend is another factor that is ruining lifestyles of many. Being a trendy or updated person, some indulges in these things allot, like excessive alcohol, smoking, drugs etc. It is very good to be in trend but accepting or adapting this culture is disappointing.

If a man consumes alcohol heavily, no matter what else he does, he is reducing the chances of conceiving or impregnating his partner. Heavy drinking can reduce men’s sex drive, majorly affect semen quality and cause infertility.

Other Aspects –

Environmental factors are also directly linked with reduced sperm count, sperms motility, viability and detectable levels of cadmium and lead in seminal plasma.

The increased number of reports suggests that physical and chemical agents, present in the environment
affects male fertility in humans. Industrial chemicals, heavy metals, pollution- these three factors have a negative impact on male fertility. Exposure to these environmental agents direct hits male fertility.

Conclusion –

It is clearly identified that lifestyle factors have great impact on fertility, whether it is male or female. In addition, the risk factors get increased, especially when any of the partners is a smoker or have the habit of smoking. There are several methods to modify the lifestyle such as- adopting a healthy habit, consulting with good expert/ specialist, meditation, acupuncture, yoga , taking interest in the hobby like singing, dancing, reading the novels etc.

Couples, who are seeking for their fertility medication, best way to get rid of infertility is to settle their mind on ART treatment and those, who are already undergoing or outlining a plan to go with ART treatment, can also boost their chances to conceive by cutting back alcohol from their daily routine, not to smoke, stick on healthy diet etc.

For more Information:

Dynamic Fertility and IVF Centre

F - 21, South Extension Part 1,

New Delhi - 110049, India

Te: +91 11 41315994 / +91 11 24645994

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