Lifestyle-related and environmental factors are rarely a direct cause of infertility. However, they may contribute to the problem and should therefore be taken into consideration when attempting to find ways to increase the chance of pregnancy.
Smoking reduces your chances of having children, regardless of your sex. Smoking affects the function of the fallopian tubes and the uteral mucous membrane. This, in turn, may lead to irregular ovulation and make it increasingly difficult for the egg to embed itself in the fallopian tube. Also, semen from smokers has more damaged DNA. Finally, smoking inhibits the ability of the sperm cell to attach to the egg cell.
A diet with large quantities of sugar and simple carbohydrates (that are easy to break down) tends to raise blood levels of the hormone insulin. If insulin levels are generally high, the fallopian tubes will produce male hormones (androgens) as a result. This may affect the hormone balance and ovulation.
Both underweight and overweight men are statistically more likely to produce sperm of lower quality compared with men of normal weight. This is believed to be because fat cells produce precursors of estrogen, and that increased levels of fat in the crotch region raises the temperature in the testicles.
Based on experience, overweight women also seem to have trouble becoming pregnant, most likely due to hormonal causes.
We all know that many substances in the surrounding environment affect our hormonal balance in a negative way. This has led to the hypothesis that some of these compounds are entirely, or partially, responsible for impaired sperm quality in some cases. Substances under suspicion include phtalates and certain pesticides. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises consumers to carefully follow the instructions for usage and dosage on soaps and detergents, cosmetic products, and toys. In addition, make sure only to burn pure, untreated wood in the stove. Buy products that are labeled "environmentally safe" and make sure to air out regularly at home, as dust can easily contain a lot of chemicals.
Some drugs have side effects that impair the chances of becoming pregnant. This is the case with certain types of headache pills and anti-depressive medicine and, ironically, some drugs for treating erectile dysfunction. Do not, however, attempt to alter your medicine without consulting your physician first.
Stress may affect the hormone balance, the nervous system, the immune system, and the nutritional balance, impairing your chances of pregnancy. Both parties should ideally be in good physical condition and have the required surplus - physically and mentally - that is necessary for parenting a baby.