Fertility Self Assessment

Take the personal infertility risk assessment below to find out where you might be at risk.

1. Are you over age 35?

As women age, the eggs are less able to form an embryo that can implant and form an offspring with a normal complement of chromosomes. The aging process also decreases the number of eggs you have, and makes them more susceptible to chromosomal abnormalities. After age 35, your fertility potential starts to decline. After age 40, the chance of getting pregnant sharply declines. Women over 35 also have a higher chance of miscarriage.

2. Are you a smoker?

Smoking has major adverse effects on both your egg quality as well as your partner's sperm quality, thus affecting your ability to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. If you smoke, your natural fertility is decreased as well as the chance of successful pregnancy with IVF by 50%. It also can prematurely decrease your egg supply, aging your ovaries at a faster rate than normal and even bring about early menopause. If you do get pregnant, studies show that smokers have a greater risk of miscarriage and premature births.

3. Are you overweight or underweight?

Excess body weight can have major effects on ovulation. Only recently has it been fully realized that weight also decreases the chance of pregnancy and increases the chance of miscarriage even if a woman is ovulating. The most prominent effect occurs when the body mass index (BMI) is over 35. Even with a successful birth, the odds of delivering before 32 weeks, which is quite premature, increases by 25% when the BMI is over 30 and by 50% when the BMI is over 35. Such early delivery can lead to a marked increase of the chance of the newborn not surviving or having very significant health problems or permanent handicaps.

If you are underweight and your body fat is 10 to 15 percent below normal, you may have problems getting pregnant. Underweight women may be unable to produce the necessary hormones to cause ovulation, which is essential for conception.

4. Do you exercise excessively?

In one study from Harvard, more than three hours of aerobic exercise per week for the female was associated with a reduced pregnancy rate with IVF. While this has not been conclusively proven, your activity level is part of assessing your infertility risk. If you engage in strenuous exercise, you may experience irregular periods or no period at all. This is common for dancers, professional athletes and runners and may lead to ovulation problems.

5. Do you have regular periods?

Since ovulation is essential to making a baby, having irregular periods or not having a period at all is an infertility risk. If you don’t have a period, or if your cycles are more than 35 days apart or less than 25 days apart, you may have an ovulatory disorder, a leading cause of infertility.

6. Do you experience bleeding or spotting between periods?

Abnormal bleeding or spotting between periods could signal hormonal problems, fibroids, polyps, or uterine or cervical problems. 

7. Do you have a history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

If left untreated, STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID can result in complications such as scarring, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and blocked fallopian tubes. Each of these can adversely affect your ability to get pregnant.

8. Do you experience pain during your periods or sexual intercourse?

Endometriosis, tubal disease, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and fibroids all negatively affect fertility and may trigger pain during intercourse. If you experience pelvic pain, pain during sex or abnormal pain during your period one of these may be the cause of infertility.

9. Do you drink excessive amounts of caffeine?

Your fertility is influenced by the amount of caffeine you drink. Moderate amounts reduce fertility and any significant intake reduces the success with IVF. Caffeine, in excess, is an infertility risk factor that increases the chances of miscarriage and the risk of endometriosis.

10. Do you drink excessively or engage in recreational drug use?

Heavy drinking or drug use has been shown to increase your chances of suffering from an ovulation disorder or endometriosis. Both these conditions can make it difficult for you to get pregnant and/or carry the pregnancy to term. It can also affect the quality of your partner’s sperm.

11. Do you have a history of recurrent miscarriage?

Recurrent miscarriages may be caused by a chromosomal abnormality in one of the parents, egg quality issues, structural abnormalities of the uterus or hormonal abnormalities. Sometimes no abnormality can be discovered to explain multiple miscarriages.

12. Do you suffer from a chronic medical condition?

Diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, rheumatoid arthritis or other serious medical condition can make it difficult to get pregnant. Medications used to treat these conditions can inhibit your ability to conceive or be harmful to the unborn baby.