Infertility Risk Factors for Men and Women

Infertility Risk Factors for Men and Women

March 15, 2019

Infertility Risk Factors for Men and Women

For women

Some factors can affect how easily a woman ovulates, gets pregnant, or delivers a child. These include:

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

  • Endometriosis

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

  • Hormone imbalance

  • Environmental factors. These include cigarette smoking, drinking alcohol, and exposure to workplace hazards or toxins.

  • Too much body fat or very low body fat

  • Abnormal Pap smears that have been treated with cryosurgery or cone biopsy

  • DES taken by mother during pregnancy

  • Sexually transmitted diseases

  • Fallopian tube disease

  • Multiple miscarriages

  • Fibroids

  • Pelvic surgery

  • Abnormalities in the uterus that are present at birth or happen later in life

For men

Infertility is not just a woman's problem. Here is a list of things that can affect a man's fertility:

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

  • Exposure to hazards on the job or to toxic substances. These include radiation, radioactivity, welding, and many chemicals. Toxic chemicals include lead, ethylene dibromine, and vinyl chloride.

  • Cigarette or marijuana smoke

  • Heavy alcohol drinking

  • Exposure of the genitals to high temperatures

  • Hernia repair

  • Undescended testicles

  • Prescription medicine. These include opioid-like medicines that affect the central nervous system. An example is medicines to treat mental illness.  

  • Mumps after puberty 

  • A genetic problem or a problem that was present at birth (congenital)


March 15, 2019


Approach to the male with infertility. UpToDate., Causes of male infertility. UpToDate

Reviewed By:  

Burd, Irina, MD, PhD,Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP