Dr David Wilkinson says age, obesity, smoking and alcohol consumption are the biggest factors that can influence the chance of falling pregnant and having a healthy baby.
In addition, many common medical issues could impact on fertility, including endometriosis, ovulation disorders and blockages, but they are mostly treatable.
“Just as people plan travel, careers and weddings, they can also plan for a family,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“Individuals and couples should plan ahead and make informed and timely decisions regarding childbearing to prevent infertility and involuntary childlessness.
“The fact is that one in six couples have trouble falling pregnant.”
Dr Wilkinson says age is one of the top reasons why people have trouble conceiving, as fertility declines as age increases. He says women are most fertile in their 20s, but due to a change in lifestyle, many people were delaying having children until after this age.
Official figures show the average maternal age in Australia has now reached 30.
Dr Wilkinson says while the age clock could not be wound back, people could take other steps to optimise their fertility, including simple things such as managing their weight, exercising and following a healthy diet.
Fertility Fit Tips:
Follow a healthy, balanced diet that provides adequate protein, carbohydrate and fibre
Aim to undertake moderate exercise for an average of 30 minutes three times a week
Take folic acid for the three months before and the first three months of pregnancy (females only)
Restrict alcohol intake
Stop smoking and any drug use
Check your medications/supplements intake with your doctor
Limit caffeine consumption.
As a general rule, Dr Wilkinson says you should seek the help of a fertility specialist if you are under 35 and have been unsuccessfully trying to fall pregnant for 12 months, or if you are over 35 and have been unsuccessful after six months of trying to conceive.
Dr David Wilkinson is Mama You've Got This Fertility and IVF Expert from City Fertility. Dr David is a fully accredited fertility subspecialist (FRANZCOG CREI phD) with extensive experience in all aspects of infertility diagnosis and treatment. Dr David presents at Mama You've Got This Preparing for Pregnancy Masterclass.