External factors that affect conception


diet, factors that affect conception
Even though there are no specific foods per se that will make you more fertile, some do go a long a way to enhance it. These include foods rich in the following:

  • Vitamin A, from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, sweet potatoes, etc.
  • Vitamin B6 (for women), from bran (rice and wheat), pistachio nuts, hazelnuts, raw garlic, liver, fish (tuna, salmon, cod)
  • Vitamin C (for men), from broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, leafy greens, oranges and other citrus fruits
  • Vitamin D (for men), from cod liver oil, dairy products, eggs, fish (tuna, salmon, cod)
  • Vitamin E, from whole grains, broccoli, nuts, leafy greens, soy
  • Calcium (for men), from soy, broccoli, dairy products, fish (tuna, salmon, cod)
  • Folic acid (for women), from leafy greens, whole grains, wheat germ, soy, citrus fruits
  • Iron, from leafy greens, plantains (unripe)
  • Zinc, from wheat germ, seeds, peanuts, soy

However, it is important to highlight the impact of Refined Carbohydrates like white bread, pasta, and white rice. Though they might not directly lower your fertility, their overall impact on the body is more negative than positive. Women with PCOS must monitor their intake of refined carbohydrates very carefully. PCOS worsens when insulin levels in the bloodstream go up. And what are the main culprits behind this spike in insulin levels?! You guessed it! Refined carbohydrates!! I am still trying to battle my addiction to them, even as I type! When women with PCOS intake too much refined carbohydrates, higher insulin levels negatively affect ovarian function, thus impairing fertility.


alcohol, factors that affect conceptionThis depends on the level of intake. In moderation, its impact on fertility is minimal. However, in excess, it has been shown to negatively impact fertility. For women, it is directly correlated to decreased conception rates, inadequate ovarian function, irregular and/or annovulatory menstruation, early menopause, miscarriages, reduced libido, etc. Likewise, for men, it could result in inadequate testicular function, reduced testosterone, reduced libido, etc.




Though it hasn’€™t been entirely proven that caffeine affects fertility, in moderation it is not expected to impede pregnancy. However, studies have shown that caffeine can hinder the body’s ability to absorb iron and calcium. As long as there is this question mark, I would avoid it as much as possible.



Smoking is one of the most significant lifestyle factors that affect fertility. For women, it has been proven to delay conception, contribute to menstrual dysfunction, has been linked to the earlier onset of menopause, cervical and tubal factor infertility, recurring miscarriages, and could increase the occurrence of ectopic pregnancies. Likewise, for men, it increases the incidence of erectile dysfunction, and chromosomal damage to semen.


Not surprisingly, the common food flavouring MSG (monosodium glutamate) makes the list of toxins which could be bad for our fertility. Others include prescription and recreational drugs, herbicides, fungicides, dyes, dry cleaning chemicals, lead, mercury, gasoline, oil-based paints, cleaning solvents, adhesives, PVC plastics, etc.



It is important to generally live well and observe the following lifestyle rules:

  • Eat healthy
  • Exercise and maintain an optimal body weight
  • Avoid indiscriminate sexual activity, especially with partners with questionable or unknown sexual history
  • Undertake regular health exams, to screen for sexually transmitted infections, hormonal imbalances, and pre-cancerous conditions
  • Choose your contraception wisely. Hormonal contraceptives could cause conception delays, even after you have stopped using them. Intrauterine devices are not recommended, due to the increased possibility of uterine scarring.