Lifestyle influences fertility

Clinical infertility is defined as an inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse. There is evidence to suggest that approximately one in every 6 couples will experience infertility problems (Anderson, Nisenblat & Norman, 2010). Growing evidence informs us that lifestyle and environmental factors are associated with adverse reproductive outcomes (Anderson, Nisenblat & Norman, 2010). In a recent study, obstetricians and gynecologists  from Australia and New Zealand, examined several modifiable lifestyle factors that can influence fertility (Anderson, Nisenblat & Norman, 2010). In this study it was found that obesity, level of exercise, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, use of recreational drugs prior to conception and pharmaceutical medication can adversely influence fertility. For example, it is reported that calcium channel blockers (used for high blood pressure) can lead to fertilisation failure and that anti-psychotics (used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression) can raise prolactin concentrations and result in sexual dysfunction. However, what was most surprising about this review, is that the use of antibiotics can impair the process spermatogenesis (the process of making sperm cells).

Anderson, K., Nisenblat, V. &Norman, R. 2010. Lifestyle factors in people seeking fertility treatment-a review. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 50, 1, 8-20.

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