Factors Affecting Fertility

Enrique Soto, Alan B. Copperman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The overall health of a patient may affect her reproductive capability. Specific factors that may play an important role in fertility include the weight and age of the patient, as well asmaternal consumption of tobacco, caffeine, or alcohol. The following recommendations should be advised to patients attempting to conceive spontaneously or through reproductive assisted technologies (ART): (1) follow a healthy diet according to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines, includingfolic acid supplementation of 400μg/day, (2) quit smoking, (3) limit caffeine consumption to 1-2 cups of coffee/day or equivalent, (4) avoid alcohol consumption greater than 2 drinks/day (quit completely once pregnancy confirmed). Additionally, weight loss and exercise should be advised for women who are overweight or obese. Although the diagnosis of infertility is normally defined as 12 months of unsuccessful attempts at conception, earlier evaluation and treatment may be justified in some patients based on medical history and physical findings, or after 6 months in women over the age of 35.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInfertility
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9781444333534
StatePublished - 8 Mar 2011


  • ASRM guidelines
  • Alcohol
  • Body mass index (BMI) -objective marker for classifying underweight
  • Caffeine or alcohol
  • Consumption of tobacco
  • Data reflecting -effect of alcohol on fertility
  • Direct effect of being overweight and obese -assisted reproduction technologies (ART)
  • Factors
  • Factors affecting fertility
  • Factors, likely to play a role -in the ability that a patient or couple has to conceive
  • Fecundability and time to pregnancy (TTP) -used in literature as markers of fertility
  • Fecundability, lower at extremes of BMI -in patients trying to conceive spontaneously
  • Inability in achieving a successful pregnancy
  • Incidence of infertility -increasing with advancing maternal age
  • Less clear than for spontaneous pregnancies
  • Patients diagnosed with infertility -after 12 months or more
  • Role in fertility -age and weight of patient


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