Patient Resources

Potential Risk Factors That Play a Role in Women’s Fertility

When it comes to your fertility, there are many risk factors that play a role in your ability to ovulate, conceive, or carry a pregnancy to term. Knowing the potential risk factors in your life, which can range from lifestyle choices to environmental causes, and addressing them early on may help your chances of attaining a successful pregnancy. The risk factors for women are as follows:

General Health

  • Chronic diseases such as diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension, hyper or hypothyroidism, or asthma
  • Excessive or very low body fat can affect ovulation and fertility
  • Abnormal pap smears resulting in treatment, like cryosurgery or cone biopsy
  • Hormonal imbalance: periods lasting longer than six days, cycles shorter than 24 days or more than 35 days apart, very heavy periods, unpredictable cycles, excessive facial hair, or acne on face, chest, and/or abdomen
  • Multiple miscarriages
  • Environmental hazards, including cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and exposure to workplace hazards or toxins


Endometriosis is a disease in which uterine tissue is found outside the uterus on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and on the bladder and bowel. It can occur in menstruating women of all ages. Early detection of the disease may result in successful control and preservation of fertility. Since the disease runs in families and may be symptomless, tell your doctor if any family members had symptoms or were diagnosed. 

Tubal Disease

Fallopian tube disease contributes to about 20% of infertility cases treated. Make sure to let your doctor know if you have had any STDs, pelvic pain, unusual vaginal discharge, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian cysts, bleeding or fever, or pelvic surgery for ruptured appendix. Inform your doctor if you have had an IUD or two or more abortions. 

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Some STDs are transmitted more easily to women and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease in women, and epididymitis in men. Complications are also more common in women, which can include adhesions, blocked tubes, ectopic pregnancy, subsequent scarring, and miscarriage. Infertility can be a consequence of STDs.


The North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine/Talbert Fertility Institute is the premiere center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestation Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today.

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