Whether you’re currently trying to get pregnant or don’t want a baby for at least another decade, the healthy (or unhealthy) habits you practice could affect your ability to conceive. Infertility, of course, has many causes, most of which are out of our control (or at least irreversible, like age). But personal habits, environmental toxins and other “lifestyle factors” can also boost or seriously harm your chances of getting pregnant, now or in the future.
An estimated 10% to 15% of couples—i.e., millions of Americans—are infertile, according to the Mayo Clinic. Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant for more than one year with no luck. About one-third of cases where a couple can’t conceive are caused by female fertility issues, the same amount as are aused by male fertility problems. The rest result from unknown causes or a combination of male and female issues. The good news, though, is that half of all infertile couples will go on to conceive “spontaneously” within the next 24 months.
The most common causes in women under 40 are are fallopian tube damage (frequently brought on by untreated chlamydia), endometriosis, ovulation disorders, excessive levels of certain hormones (prolactin, androgen), early menopause and uterine fibroids. But the following 8 fertility factors also play an important role in boosting or killing your chances of getting pregnant.