Risk Factors of Infertility: What Makes Becoming Pregnant More Difficult?

risk factors of infertility

Infertility is estimated to affect about 11 percent of women in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In order to be considered infertile, the woman must have been trying to become pregnant for one year without any success. Women who have a hard time becoming pregnant should be aware of the risk factors of infertility. While there are available medical procedures such as IVF and IUI, it is important for women to understand the risk factors that affect their fertility.

Conditions Which are Risk Factors of Infertility

A few different health conditions are major risk factors of infertility. Endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are both health conditions which make becoming pregnant more difficult. Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, obesity, acne, and facial hair. Endometriosis symptoms include long and heavy periods, pain during and after sexual intercourse, and abdominal pain. Women who are experiencing infertility should make sure that these conditions are not causing infertility.

Age is a Risk Factor of Infertility

One of the main risk factors of infertility is age. Women in their late 30s and 40s tend to have a difficult time getting pregnant. As a woman gets older, she eventually stops releasing eggs during ovulation. The eggs that are released tend to be less healthy than they were during her younger years, and the amount of them decreases. Women who are older may be more likely to have health conditions, such as high cholesterol or diabetes, which may impact fertility. Age is a risk factor of infertility, as well as a risk factor of miscarriage.

Other Risk Factors of Infertility

While age and health conditions account for most fertility problems, there are many other factors which can put a woman at risk of experiencing difficulty becoming pregnant. Stress, malnutrition, alcohol and drug use, and weight are all risk factors of infertility. Women who have experienced pelvic infections, which can be caused by sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, may also have a hard time becoming pregnant if there was any scar tissue damage.

Birth Control is Not a Risk Factor of Infertility

Women who are trying to become pregnant should keep in mind that birth control is not a direct a cause of infertility. That being said, it is important to realize that being on the birth control pill or Depo-Provera (the birth control shot) may not be able to become pregnant right away. Before the woman can conceive, ovulation will need to begin again. For some women this can happen within a few weeks, but for others it may take months. To prevent birth control from being a risk factor of infertility, consider an option which will not prolong conception, such as the Intrauterine Device (IUD).


A woman who is having a hard time trying to conceive should talk to her doctor, whether a risk factor of infertility affects her or not. It is also important to keep in mind that women are not the only ones at risk for experiencing risk factors of infertility. There is a possibility that the man in the relationship could be the one who is infertile. Couples who struggle becoming pregnant may consider seeing a fertility specialist in order to determine what the problem is.


Risk Factors of Infertility: What Makes Becoming Pregnant More Difficult?

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