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The Health Centre

Lifestyle and Fertility: How Age, Exercise and Diet can affect your fertility.


If only there was a ‘fertility switch’ we could turn on and off according to our circumstances. There isn’t of course. The reality is that you never really know whether you’re going to have any fertility difficulties until you start trying to conceive. Age and lifestyle both have an impact on fertility. We can’t stop the passage of time, but we can make changes to our lifestyle to maximise the chances of success when trying to get pregnant.


Age & Fertility.

Fertility essentially requires a healthy sperm and egg. Women are born with a finite supply of eggs; from puberty up until the menopause, one of these eggs is released each month. The difficulty is that the quality of the eggs released by the ovaries tends to decline as the woman gets older. This becomes a bigger issue as women progress past their mid-30s. While age does not impact a man’s fertility to the same extent as a woman’s, research has suggested that there is a marked year-on-year decline in sperm quality once a man reaches his 40s..


Weight – Keep It Within the Normal Range.

Excess body weight can affect ovulation. One common cause of infertility is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can be made worse by being significantly overweight. There’s also an increased risk of pregnancy complications, premature birth and low birth weight if you’re overweight. The time to think about reaching a normal weight is before you become pregnant. Actively trying to lose weight while you’re actually pregnant may cause problems in itself and could mean that your baby’s being deprived of essential nutrients. If you are pregnant and overweight, the best way forward is to liaise with your doctor and other health professionals to manage the risks you might face and deal with any potential problems.   


Exercise – Don’t Overdo It! 

Can too much exercise be bad for us if we’re trying to conceive? With so many mixed messages in the media it can be difficult to get accurate information on the issues. Some research suggests that very intense and frequent exercise has a negative impact on a woman’s fertility. However this is to be seen in the context of the overwhelming body of evidence which suggests that moderate or light physical activity – along with a healthy lifestyle overall – is good for general body fitness and fertility. The standard daily 30 minutes of moderate exercise is recommended.  However, if you go beyond this and exhaust yourself in the gym every day, you may be putting your reproductive system under undue stress.


Diet – Boost Your Fertility By Eating Well! 

A diet high in fat and trans-fat can have a negative effect on ovulation and on sperm production. The same is true of excessive alcohol. It is thought that a diet rich in high quality proteins greatly increases a man’s sperm quality – given that gametes (reproductive cells) are essentially proteins. Recent research also indicates that protein is important for good quality embryos and better egg quality. Healthy omega-3 fats and plenty of dark leafy vegetables should also be on the menu. Be sure to ask your physician or fertility expert about what supplements you ought to be taking. The important thing to remember is that a healthy weight and diet and exercise can not only boost your fertility, but will also increase your chances of have a healthy baby.


About the Author: 

Queensland Fertility Group (QFG) is Queensland’s largest group of Fertility Specialists with over 13 clinics reaching from Cairns to the Gold Coast. Boasting some of the highest fertility treatment success rates in Australia, QFG offers patients the full range of fertility investigation and treatment options from simple techniques, like ovulation timing, right through to artificial insemination and IVF. To learn more about the leading Fertility Specialists in your area or to locate your local QFG clinic, please visit http://qfg.com.au






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