There are many lifestyle and genetic factors which can influence your fertility. A recent study has found that living in noisy areas could prove a risk factor for some couples.

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By Hayley Fryer

On average, most couples will fall pregnant within six months of trying to conceive.

Unfortunately for some people, conception does not happen this quickly, and they struggle to fall pregnant for many years.

There are many lifestyle factors which can decrease fertility rates in both males and females, such as smoking, being overweight or heavy drinking.

Other influencers such as age and hormone levels have also been shown to play a key role in fertility.

A recent study from Denmark has discovered that even the noisiness of your street could influence your chance of becoming pregnant.


The research

The team found that couples living on busier streets can take up to 6 months longer to fall pregnant than those living in quieter locations.

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Jeppe Schultz Christensen from the Danish Cancer Society Research Centre in Copenhagen and his research team analysed data from 65,000 women living in Denmark.

They found that couples living on busy streets can take much longer to conceive than those living in quieter locations.

It was discovered that for every 10 decibels of increased noise experienced, the likelihood of it taking up to a year to fall pregnant increased by 5 to 8 percent. This is 6 months longer than the average time to fall pregnant.

This therefore demonstrates a correlation between increased noise and a longer time to conception.

This correlation was only apparent in couples who took less than a year to fall pregnant. Couples who became pregnant after 12 months of trying did not have the association; potentially because they had other factors affecting their fertility.


How can noise affect fertility levels?

Increased noise could cause stress and lack of sleep, leading to reduced fertility.

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It may seem strange that sound could affect the reproductive fitness of a person.

However, high levels of noise have been shown to induce chronic stress in numerous species, including humans.

This coupled with a lack of sleep due to listening to traffic all night could explain reduced fertility rates, as both have been shown to negatively impact on male sperm and female ovulation cycles.


What can be done?

Experts suggest choosing bedrooms away from main roads, and closing your window at night to get a good night’s sleep.

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It’s all well and good telling couples that living on a busy road could be bad for their fertility, but what can be done about it?

Between 2011 and 2015, an additional 2 million cars were added to UK roads. Furthermore, more of the young couples who might want to fall pregnant are living in busy cities than they were a few years ago.

As a result, heavy noise levels have become part of everyday life for many people.

In order to try and reduce the noise experienced, try picking bedrooms away from main roads, and close windows at night time.

Additionally, try to make sure you have a good bedtime cycle. For example, turning off all electronic devices one hour before you go to bed can help give you a deeper, and more refreshing sleep.

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Further research

More research should be done exploring how high noise levels might decrease fertility levels.

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Although this research is intriguing, it doesn’t give conclusive answers as to why noise seems to affect fertility rates.

Additionally, this study only looked at females. More conclusive research should be undertaken which looks at both sexes, and give possible mechanisms by which noise could increase time to conception.


The research: