The majority of couples underestimate the impact of a woman’s age on fertility and, at the same time, overestimate the results of assisted reproduction techniques (IVF). As a result, these couples are at risk of putting off parenthood during a time when they are arguably most fertile. It would be beneficial for a couple to consider all of the possible implications of delaying motherhood, before making an informed decision. At our fertility clinic in Spain, we tell our patients every day that, ‘a woman’s age is the most important factor in terms of conception’. Pregnancy rates are fairly stable at around 23% per month until the age of 30, and then this rate begins to decline significantly after the age of 37, resulting in an increased number of infertile women.
It’s important that our patients understand that when their family doctor or gynaecologist tells them that everything looks good at their annual check-up, this doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is OK reproduction-wise. In other words, a woman who is 43 or 45 years old may be in perfect health and her annual gynaecology visits might look fine, but due to her age, her likelihood of receiving a poor prognosis for her reproductive health will be extremely high. That’s why it is important to know your ovarian reserve at every annual check-up. The response to all the above should be a new concept of “infertility prevention,” where the responsibility falls on health professionals, healthcare workers in general and on society as a whole. We should be more aware of the factors that have an impact on a women’s fertility success rates; such as age, as well as the new possibilities for preserving fertility (vitrification of oocytes, freezing of ovarian tissue (egg freezing) and freezing of sperm).
Advanced age is a factor that’s present in a very high percentage of couples dealing with infertility, but it may be not the only factor. Aside from several illnesses and pathologies that can be the cause, we’ve also found that there are certain habits that have adverse effects on fertility which you should avoid if you want to become a parent someday.
Smoking, alcohol consumption and even a sedentary lifestyle are habits that are damaging to our general health. But they’re even worse if you are trying to conceive, as they have a very negative impact on your fertility. This is, of course, not something which only affects future mums, but it also affects male fertility. But if you’ve decided to become a mom and you’re trying to conceive (TTC), it is important that you avoid habits that are detrimental to your fertility success rates, such as the ones we mention below.