Researchers identify 6 factors that may hinder conception

Researchers identify 6 factors that may hinder conception

A risk-scoring system based on just six risk factors could help women improve their chances of conceiving, according to research from Singapore.

The study involved data from the S-PRESTO (Singapore Preconception Study of Long-Term Maternal and Child Outcomes) prospective cohort study. This included 937 females of reproductive age in Singapore who were trying to conceive over a one-year period.

A reduced fecundability risk score was derived by giving participants one point for each of the following factors:

  • unhealthy body mass index
  • unhealthy diet
  • smoking
  • drinking more than one alcoholic drink each week
  • not using folic acid supplements
  • being over the age of 32


Total scores ranged from zero to six and were classified into five levels: level one (score of zero or one), level two (score of two), level three (score of three), level four (score of four), and level five (score of five or six).

As scores increased, the chances of conceiving reduced by 31–77% compared to women at level one.

The mean age of the 937 females was 30.8 years and 401 (42.8%) spontaneously conceived within one year of attempting conception; the median number of cycles before conception was four.

The authors said eliminating these risk factors is estimated to reduce the incidence of not conceiving by 34% in the study population.

Alex Polyakov, Associate Professor and Fertility Specialist at the University of Melbourne, said, “The study’s results are important for women who are trying to get pregnant and for healthcare providers who work with women who are trying to conceive.

“By understanding how different lifestyle factors can impact fertility, women can make informed decisions about how to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Additionally, healthcare providers can use this information to guide women in making positive lifestyle changes, which can help improve their fertility.”

Some limitations of the study were observed. There was no measure of longitudinal lifestyle practices, paternal health or intercourse frequency which may affect fecundability.

The authors acknowledge that the conception rate in this study was 42.8%, which is lower than the global fertility rate of 80% to 90%1 although it is consistent with the low conception rate observed in Singapore and is similar to the conception rate in China.

[1] National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Fertility problems: assessment and treatment.

Image credit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

%d bloggers like this: