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  • Author: Mathias Abiodun Emokpae x
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Mathias Abiodun Emokpae and Somieye Imaobong Brown

The role that lifestyle factors play in fertility issues has generated some amount of interest and questions among stakeholders. This review aims to highlight the impact of lifestyle behaviors on the fertility potential of an individual and what can be done to prevent or improve reproductive outcomes. Relevant published articles on the effect of lifestyle behaviors were obtained from Medline, Pubmed and Google scholar search engines for the study. The review of the literature indicates a negative impact of modifiable lifestyle factors such as fat-rich diets, delayed childbearing/age of starting family, smoking, alcohol misuse, sexual behavior, anxiety/depression and perception/beliefs were associated with fertility. The ensuing stress precipitates social behaviors such as excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, tobacco smoking, misuse of recreational drugs/medications, which increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and infection leading to infertility. Practical recommendations to modify lifestyle behaviors and the impact of misconception of Assisted Reproductive Technology in the treatment of infertility are discussed. The need to make appropriate behavioral changes to stem the tide of infertility in Nigeria is imperative. More reproductive health education is needed to create the necessary awareness of the etiologies of infertility and the importance of in vitro fertilization treatment as a means of conceiving ‘natural’ babies is suggested.

Lay summary

Scientific evidence has suggested that modifiable lifestyle factors (consumption fat-rich diets, delayed childbearing/age of starting family, smoking, alcohol misuse, sexual behavior, anxiety/depression and perception/beliefs) play important roles in the general health and wellbeing of individuals including fertility. Evidence exists of an association between lifestyle behaviors and infertility in both men and women. Understanding the various processes through which modifiable lifestyle behaviors impair fertility will help to assist in the management of affected individuals. We conducted a comprehensive review of published studies to assess how lifestyle factors inhibit fertility and practical ways to ameliorate them. This review also deals with the misconception of Assisted Reproductive Technology in the treatment of infertility. The need to make appropriate behavioral changes to stem the tide of infertility in Nigeria is imperative. More reproductive health education is needed to create the necessary awareness of the causes of infertility and the importance of in vitro fertilization in the treatment of infertility.