When you decide you’re ready to “start trying” there’s a myriad of factors that influence how quickly you’ll see those coveted pink lines on the pregnancy test. And a recent study, published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine, has found another surprising impact on your chances of falling pregnant.
Researchers analysed the concentration, motility, size and shape of sperm from 6,475 men in Taiwan between 15 and 49 years of age. They found that men who were exposed to air pollution were more likely to have abnormally shaped sperm, and the longer they were exposed, the more significant the changes.
While their research didn’t make it clear whether these men had difficulty conceiving children, they conclude that it could definitely lead to infertility. Fertility Solutions says that defects in the shape of the sperm neck or tail can affect movement and defects in the sperm head can impact the sperm’s ability to bind to and fertilize the egg.
It’s important to note that in terms of air pollution, Taiwan has significantly worse conditions than here in Australia, but it highlights how environmental toxins can influence fertility.
However, if you are struggling to fall pregnant there are factors that you can have greater control over. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, cutting back on drinking and quitting smoking have been found to improve fertility in both men and women.