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    Lifestyle habits that impact fertility, reduce sperm count or sperm quality | Health

    The lifestyle choices you make, including your fertility, can have a significant impact on your entire health and well-being. Most lifestyle choices, age, food, exercise, weight, stress levels and sleep quality, are associated in some way with fertility where physical and mental health, occupational and environmental exposures, substance use and abuse and medications impact fertility.

    Both men and women’s fertility decline with age and the single most important factor determining a woman’s ability to conceive and deliver a healthy baby is her age. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr R Suchindra, Consultant, Reproductive Medicine at Milann in Bangalore, explained, “Early in her 30s, a woman’s fertility starts to decline; around age 35, this decline becomes more pronounced. A man’s age influences the likelihood that his (female) spouse will become pregnant. Males over 45 are more likely to miscarry and have children who have developmental and mental health issues.”

    He added, “Obese men have reduced sperm counts and inferior sperm quality. Being underweight is related to both ovarian dysfunction and infertility in women. Both male and female fertility is reduced by substance use, which includes heavy drinking, marijuana use, tobacco use, and illegal narcotics like heroin and cocaine.”

    Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Malti Madhu, Senior Consultant – Fertility and IVF at Apollo Fertility in Noida, shared, “Scientific evidence has suggested that modifiable lifestyle factors (consumption of fat-rich diets, delayed childbearing/age of starting family, smoking, alcohol misuse, sexual behavior, anxiety/depression and perception/beliefs) play important roles in the general wellbeing of individuals including fertility. Several factors such as genetic, environmental and behavior contribute to the increasing trend in overweight and obesity. Fortunately, most of the causes of infertility are treatable with procedures – assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods.”

    Insisting that the normalization of some modifiable lifestyle factors could restore normal oocyte maturation in women and improve semen quality in the males, she revealed:

    1. High-fat diets inhibit reproduction by affecting the physical and molecular structure of not only sperm cells but also the developing fetus and offspring.

    2. In males, smoking has been observed to reduce sperm concentration, morphology, and motility as well as increased DNA damage

    3. In females, smoking can lead to the increased thickness of the covering of the egg in smokers, which makes sperm penetration difficult. Alcohol depletes many essential nutrients from the body, which are needed for most functions including reproduction.

    4.Physical exercise is beneficial to overweight or obese infertile women.

    5. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and choosing foods that are conducive in achieving pregnancy.

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