Infertility Risk Factors for Women and Men
Skip to Content

Women's Health

Infertility Risk Factors for Women and Men

Many things can affect fertility for men and women. Some factors can affect how easily a woman ovulates, gets pregnant, or gives birth to a baby. Men have risk factors, too. Many things can affect the health of their sperm.

Risk factors for women

These are things that can affect a woman’s fertility:

  • Age. Women in their late 30s and older are less fertile than women in their early 20s.

  • Endometriosis

  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension, and asthma

  • Hormone imbalance

  • Smoking cigarettes

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Contact with workplace hazards or toxins

  • Too much body fat or very low body fat

  • Abnormal Pap smears treated with cryosurgery or cone biopsy

  • DES taken by their mother during pregnancy

  • Sexually transmitted infections

  • Fallopian tube disease

  • Multiple miscarriages

  • Fibroids

  • Pelvic surgery

  • Abnormalities of the uterus

Risk factors for men

These are things that can affect a man’s fertility:

  • History of prostatitis, genital infection, or sexually transmitted infections

  • Regular contact with radiation, radioactivity, or welding

  • Regular contact with toxins such as lead

  • Regular contact with ethylene dibromide or vinyl chloride

  • Cigarette or marijuana smoke

  • Heavy alcohol drinking

  • Exposure of the genitals to high temperatures

  • Hernia repair

  • Undescended testicles

  • Opioid-like medicines that affect the central nervous system

  • Mumps after puberty 

  • A genetic problem

  • A problem that was present at birth (congenital)

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Heather Trevino
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2021
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.