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What can affect female fertility?

Age is the most important factor for female fertility, as women are the most fertile in their 20s and early 30s. But a variety of other things can impact fertility as well. If you’re trying to get pregnant, or if you’re thinking about getting pregnant, it’s good to be aware of these so that you can make healthy, informed choices that support and protect your fertility.

Physical health

If you’re getting too much vigorous physical exercise, not sleeping enough, or not eating a balanced diet, you might find it harder to get pregnant. Other physical factors that affect fertility include medical issues like an untreated sexually transmitted infection, endometriosis, too much prolactin in the blood, or scar tissue from a past surgery.

Mental health

Significant stress, depression, or a mood disorder can all reduce female fertility. Women with any of these conditions might be more likely to have certain lifestyle habits like overeating, poor nutrition, or not getting regular checkups, all of which decrease fertility.

Certain toxins

Whether it’s because of where they work or where they live, some women are more exposed to dangerous chemicals that can affect their body’s ability to get pregnant. For example, women who work in agriculture or manufacturing, or who are regularly exposed to toxic chemicals and gases, can have problems with their fertility.

Substance use

Alcohol and cigarettes have been shown to reduce egg count and raise the risk of an ovulation disorder. High caffeine intake has also been determined to be a factor in reduced fertility, as women who drink more than one or two cups of coffee per day tend to take more time getting pregnant.


Being overweight or underweight can make getting pregnant more difficult. Women who are underweight might not be getting the nutrients that their body needs to ovulate and sustain a pregnancy, while women who are significantly overweight or obese may have a hormone disruption that prevents ovulation.

Access to fertility and family building benefits

Cincinnati Children’s partners with Progyny, a leading fertility benefits solution, to offer inclusive fertility and family building benefits designed to support all paths to parenthood, no matter where you’re at in your family building journey. The Progyny benefit offers comprehensive treatment coverage leveraging the latest technologies and treatments, access to high-quality care through a premier network of fertility specialists, and personalized emotional support and guidance from dedicated Patient Care Advocates (PCAs). 

The benefit bundles all the individual services, tests, and treatments you may need into a Progyny Smart Cycle. That means you won’t run out of coverage mid treatment. and you can focus on the most effective treatment plan for you. Through Cincinnati Children’s, eligible members have access to:

  • (1) Smart Cycle; comprehensive coverage to pursue your unique path to parenthood.*
  • Progyny Rx (integrated fertility medication coverage)
  • Fertility preservation (egg and sperm freezing coverage)

Smart Cycles are designed to be flexible, allowing members to utilize their Smart Cycles for whichever treatments they and their physician determine to be necessary throughout their fertility journey.

*If your first Smart Cycle is unsuccessful, you may be eligible for a second.

To learn more and activate your Progyny benefit, please reach out to your dedicated Patient Care Advocate at 1-844-930-3337. Additionally, you can explore Progyny’s Education hub to discover content on a variety of family building topics.

  • “Risk Factors.” Resolve. RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association Since 1974, 2016. Web.
  • “Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients.” ASRM. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2012. Web.
  • “Preconception Health Specialist Interest Group.” YourFertility. Fertility Coalition, 2016. Web.
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