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Facts About Fertility

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Some contraception is better for protecting fertility than others:

-IUDs (interuterine dvices) have a higher risk of causing inflammatory disease that may damage fertility.

-Birth control pills may help maintain fertility by changing the uterine mucus to keep some sexually transmitted diseases from reaching the fallopian tubes and reducing the incidence of endometriosis, a condition in which some cells from the lining of the uterus implant elsewhere in the pelvis and continue to grow, which may contribute to infertility.

-Condoms reduce the chance of catching a sexually transmitted disease that may damage fertility.


Some lifestyle changes may help:

-Eat well. Protein helps in proper estrogen metabolism. Without sufficient protein, menstrual cycles may become longer. Fruits and vegetables rich in folic acid help fetuses develop properly.

-Limit caffeine. More than one cup of caffeine-containing beverages a day may delay conception.

-Avoid herbal supplements. Most are unregulated and untested and may do more harm than good.

-Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and underweight women are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant. Overweight women also have more problems with gestational diabetes and high blood pressure during pregnancy.

-Don't overexercise. Regular exercise is good and healthy, but exercising so excessively that regular periods stop is bad for fertility.

-Don't smoke. Smoking may make women more susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer and pelvic infections.

-Don't do drugs. Illegal drugs may damage fertility. Some prescription drugs also may interfere with pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about them. Never stop taking a prescription drug without talking to your doctor.


Did you know?

-About 10 percent of couples in the United States are infertile.

-Up to 90 percent of infertile couples conceive using reproductive technology.

-The chance of success with invitro fertilization decreases with age. Invitro fertilization succeeds 33 percent of the time for women 30 and under, decreasing to 29 percent for women in their mid-30s, and dropping to 5 to 15 percent for women over 40.

Source: American Infertility Association


(c) 2003, St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.

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