Fertility in the UK affected by lifestyle
Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust05 September 2005
A survey undertaken in the UK suggests that major reasons why couples fail to achieve pregnancy are their lifestyle, and the increased age at which people tend to have children. The survey, conducted by Pregnancy and Birth magazine, found that many people do not take enough care of themselves and so are not in a peak physical condition to conceive. In the UK it is estimated that one in seven couples will experience fertility problems.
The magazine asked 2000 women in the UK - most of whom were either already pregnant or trying to conceive - how they prepared for pregnancy. Only 44 per cent said that they tried to follow a healthy diet and a third were overweight. Sixty-eight per cent said that they continued to drink alcohol, with 20 per cent saying that they drank 'far too much'. In relation to smoking, 49 per cent of the women said they had been smokers, but only 26 per cent of these said they gave up. Similar results applied to their male partners. Thirty per cent of couples reported the use of recreational drugs, while 41 per cent of women, and 37 per cent of men, took regular exercise.
The responses to the survey also showed that the majority believe that women are leaving it too late to start having children, with the 'ideal' age coming through as 26. But many of the women surveyed gave their reasons for delaying motherhood, including not being ready, not having the right partner, saving for a house, or wanting to establish their careers. Many of the women surveyed said that it had never crossed their minds that they might have trouble conceiving when the time came.
Sarah Hart, the magazine's editor, said that 'women spend much of their young life trying not to fall pregnant and it simply doesn't occur to them that they may not be able to conceive'. She added that the survey results show that 'people need to realise that the way they live has a direct effect on their fertility'.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.