Lifestyle Changes and Fertility

Published: Sep 29, 2020 | Revised: Jan 26, 2024
Edited by: Marce Ferreira

Lifestyle Changes and Fertility

Lifestyle affects fertility, and subsequently one of many treatment methods of infertility is making lifestyle changes. Depending on the causes certain changes in lifestyle and habits can solve infertility issues or at least help in regaining fertility and finally having a baby.

It’s a very broad subject, but we will mention some well-known issues of which it’s thought that they influence fertility. Do mind that the list of factors below is a non-exhaustive summary.

Body Weight

Overweight and obesity can be a cause of infertility or at least cause a lower pregnancy rate in women that undergo In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). The opposite is through also: underweight women are also more likely to encounter fertility problems and have a lower success rate with IVF.

For men, overweight and obesity can cause low sperm count and sperm motility and also erectile dysfunction is more common in overweight or obese men.

Physical Exercise

Moderate physical exercise can contribute to higher pregnancy rates in women. Over-exercising however has shown reduced fertility, notably being a cause for irregular menstruation.

For men, the same counts: doing moderate physical exercises seems to result in a higher sperm count and motility, and moreover, normal sperm morphology.

If it’s hard to be disciplined in doing exercises, taking regular full-body massage treatments can come of help.


Excessive use of caffeine seems to delay conception and even moderate amounts could lead to lower pregnancy rates and higher numbers of miscarriage. For men, it’s not clear if there is any impact on fertility.


Extreme use of alcohol seems to decrease fertility. Nevertheless, data about the exact amount of alcohol intake that reduces fertility is unclear. It seems to depend.

Yet, excessive use of alcohol by men shows to decrease sperm count and sperm motility, and to increase abnormal sperm morphology.

Studies also show that stopping with alcohol consumption restores fertility quickly (if alcohol use was the issue, of course).


There is clear scientific evidence that suggest that nicotine impacts fertility negatively. This goes from less reproductive potential for women (suggestions here are that a woman adds ten years to her age, as it were) and for men it decreases sperm count and sperm motility, and increases abnormal sperm morphology.

Recreational Drugs

Let’s take marijuana as an example. It seems that marijuana is likely to cause decreased fertility in women. In men, it seems to be able to create ejaculation problems and impotence, but also low sperm count and motility. By stopping marijuana use, it seems that most negative effects disappear quickly.

Tight Underwear

Tight underwear in men shows an increase of scrotal temperature but there’s no unambiguous scientific evidence that it effects sperm production.


Stress can be caused by a whole range of factors, like for instance work related issues, relationship problems, emotional or physical trauma, financial problems, illness, or a low self-esteem, just to name some examples.

Subsequently, it can lead to a broad range of pathologies that can affect fertility. For instance, stress can cause low libido (low sex drive), ejaculation problems, psychosomatic physical tensions that block normal reproductive functions, irregular ovulation or anovulation, and hormonal dysregulation, among other things.

In fact, eliminating stress-factors can be an important help to increase fertility. Some things can be done rather easily, such as perhaps changing one’s job, other issues may need help from a professional healthcare provider, such as a psychologist or counselor.

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