Preventing infertility may not always be possible. Some physiological and health issues – birth defects, anatomical problems and deficiencies in the immune system, abnormal sperm function – are beyond conscious control.
For couples wanting to know how to prevent infertility, the only option is to avoid environmental agents that affect reproduction and to make lifestyle choices based on sound medical advice.
Some lifestyle choices to help prevent infertility include:
- avoid cigarette smoking and recreational drugs
- limit alcohol consumption
- maintain a balanced, nutritious diet
Being too heavy or too thin causes as much as 12 percent of all infertility cases. Maintaining proper body weight through good diet and nutrition can help prevent infertility. Athletic training also is associated with infertility.
Many couples postpone child bearing. While the choice of when to have children is personal, couples should be aware of that aging reduces reproductive ability. Women older than 35 should get a complete exam by their OB/GYN when considering conception. Family planning based on age, while not exactly a means of preventing infertility, may help avoid age-related infertility.
Avoiding pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) caused by sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is critical to prevention of infertility. STIs acquired in the past could have damaged reproductive organs. Surgery to repair that damage also may have left scars on fallopian tubes that could impede the ability of the sperm and egg to unite, or for the embryo to reach the uterus.
Health care professionals can offer guidance in areas such as nutrition and exercise. If a couple suspects health issues or have known causes, seeking consultation and treatment by a qualified specialist as early as they can may help prevent infertility.