10 Things That Kill Your Chances For Conception

Nov 17, 2009
When you are trying to conceive, you want to be certain that you are psychologically and physically ready for having a baby. The best way to conceive successfully is to ensure your and your partner's health. However, there are many habits and things that can affect your fertility and considerably lower your chances for successful conception.


Many people know that smoking is bad for their health, leading to numerous problems from heart diseases to cancer. Smoking also negatively affects male and female fertility. For women, smoking influences the production of estrogen hormone that plays an important role in conception. It also can lead to the eggs damage and disorders of the fallopian tubes and even prevent normal implantation of the embryo. For men, smoking can result in low sperm count, decreased sperm motility and the production of unhealthy sperm.

Health tips: If you are trying to conceive, it is better to quit smoking at least two months before the conception. Also make sure you do not smoke during pregnancy.


While it is still not clear how much alcohol is safe during pregnancy, it is better to avoid drinking alcohol if you are trying to get pregnant. Regular consumption of too much alcohol can affect fertility in a very negative way and damage health of your future baby. Excessive alcohol intake, which is more than six drinks per day, may lead to such problems in women as ovulatory dysfunctions, such as anovulation, disorders of the endometrial lining and hyperprolactinemia. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, mental retardation and other damage for a baby.

Men, who drink alcohol on a regular basis may also have fertility problems, such as hormonal disorders, low sperm count and damage of the sperm-producing cells.

Health tips: Avoid alcohol during preconception and during pregnancy to boost your odds of getting pregnant.


Can caffeine affect your chances of successful conception? Many specialists say that too much caffeine can be bad for your fertility. Women, who drink high amounts of caffeine, are more likely to have fertility problems, especially if they already are dealing with conception issues. The European study showed that women, who drank too much coffee per day, had 26 percent lower chances for conception. Four or more cups of coffee per day are too much for couples, who are trying to conceive.

Health tips: If you are trying to get pregnant, limit the amount of caffeine to 300 mg per day. Keep in mind that other drinks, like tea, colas and chocolate all contain caffeine.

Excessive Weight

Weight matters too, when you are trying to conceive. Being overweight affects men's and women's fertility in negative way. Extra weight can lead to ovulation problems, which is caused by increased production of estrogen. In its turn excessive estrogen production disrupts hormonal balance and makes it difficult for a woman to ovulate or get to know when she is most fertile. Obese men also face fertility issues, such as poor sperm quality. Men with excessive weight are more likely to have high level of abnormal sperm caused by hormonal imbalance.

Health tips: For the best results, you need to maintain adequate weight three months before trying to conceive. Regular exercises and healthy nutrition can help overweight men and women lose weight. But do not overdo, because too much exercising and being underweight can also interfere with your fertility.

Hot Tubs

Heat and things that can lead to overheating of men's testes are not good for male fertility. Several studies have shown that hot tubes, cycling, saunas, tight underwear and laptops can damage sperm. This happens due to the fact that they create heated environment around men's testes. Heat from hot tubes affects sperm's quality and quantity, both of which are important for successful conception.

Health tips: Though the damage caused by heat is temporary, it is better to avoid hot tubes, cycling and other activities that lead to heat, if you are trying to conceive or already have fertility problems.


Stress, including the stress of trying to conceive unsuccessfully, is also linked to fertility problems. While we all deal with minor stresses almost every day, chronic stress can interfere with your plans to get pregnant. During stress, your body produces stress hormones such as cortisol that decreases the release of basic sex hormones, which play an important role in the release of the egg in women and production of sperm in men. This leads to reduced sperm count, ovulation problems and decreased sexual activity. Stressed women have difficulties to detect when they ovulate, which delays further on the conception.

Health tips: If you are under stress, it is recommended to join a support group or learn simple relaxation techniques to increase your chances for conception.

Sexual Dissatisfaction

Many couples, who are trying to conceive, are more concerned about calculating the most fertile days than the quality of their sex life. However, specialists say that sexual satisfaction is just as important as timing your fertile window for successful conception. Couples should avoid making love mechanically, because passionate sex is the key to conceiving a baby, scientists claim. Men, who are sexually stimulated during sex, produce up to 50 percent more sperm than usual. For women, sexual satisfaction also means better chances for conception. During orgasm, muscular contractions help sperm swim further to the cervix to fertilize an egg.

Health tips: Try to spice things up in your sex life and focus on sexual pleasure rather than the result. This is especially helpful for couples, who already have fertility problems.

Unsafe Sex

Though you do not need protection during sex to get pregnant, practicing unsafe sex may actually damage your fertility for long.  Sexually transmitted infections, which are transmitted through unprotected sex, may lead to infertility. Many people may not be aware that they have STI's because many of them do not have visible symptoms. Most common STI's that are associated with fertility problems are chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. If the infection remains untreated it can lead to such complications as pelvic inflammatory disease, which is one of the main causes of female infertility. STI's also can affect fallopian tubes in women as well as testicles and sperm in men.

Health tips: If you are trying to conceive, make sure to see your gynaecologist or family planning doctor regularly to seek for appropriate diagnosis and treatment if necessary.

Your age

Nowadays many men and women delay starting a family due to various reasons. However, most specialists know that fertility decreases with the age. Female fertility starts to decline with age since the number of the eggs she is born declines. Also older women are more likely to have such complications as miscarriage or having a baby with Down's syndrome. For men, the biological clock ticks too, scientists say. Several studies have shown that for men, who are over 40, the chances of successful conception are much lower.

Health tips: For older couples, who are trying to conceive, the best advice is to talk to an experience doctor to analyze your health issues to decide on the lifestyle changes or treatment. Maintain healthy weight, quit smoking and avoid alcohol to increase your chances for conception.

Poor Diet

Healthy nutrition plays an important role for couples, trying to conceive. Studies show that diet, exercise and lifestyle changes increase couple's chances for conception. Poor diet affects reproductive health in a negative way, because you body needs certain nutrients to maintain the best conditions for conception. Vitamins deficiency can lead to poor sperm and egg quality, which interfere with successful conception. Men and women, who do not eat healthy, may have excessive or otherwise insufficient weight, which contributes to infertility.  Health tips: If your are trying to conceive, include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, nuts and lean meat, full-fat yoghurt or milk in your diet,. Avoid trans-fats, saturated fat, excessive sugar and foods, containing additives and preservatives.