10 Myths About Fertility
Wednesday, June 29, 2022
Infertility Awareness Month is celebrated every June to increase awareness regarding numerous infertility issues faced by couples across the globe. This includes problems related to female as well as male fertility. During this month, several myths regarding infertility are clarified and a lot of options are brought forward to those who may want to conceive.
Here are some of the common myths related to infertility are:
Myth 1: Couples should always try for at least a year before seeing an OBGYN
Usually, infertility is defined as one year of unprotected intercourse without conception. Many couples should seek medical help sooner — for example, women over age 35, those with a history of irregular periods, fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic adhesive disease, ectopic pregnancy or multiple miscarriages. Same for couples with a male history of surgery, infection or trauma to the genitals.
Myth 2 : Age only affects women’s fertility, not men’s
Both men’s and women’s fertility declines with age.For women, fertility peaks in their early to mid-20s, after which it begins to slowly decline. This decline speeds up after the age of 35. For couples trying to get pregnant when the woman is aged 35 or younger, the monthly chance of getting pregnant is about 20%, or one in five. By age 40, the chance of pregnancy is only about 5%, or one in 20 each month. This is because the quality of a woman’s eggs drops as she ages.
For men, age-related fertility decline is more subtle but does happen. Male fertility generally starts to decline around age 40-45, when sperm quality decreases.
Myth3: Being on the pill for too long will delay pregnancy
If you’ve spent years of your life trying not to get pregnant, it’s only natural to wonder if it will take a while to get things back on track. For some women, fertility returns as soon as they stop using the pill, but for others, it may take a month or so to resume ovulation — as long as there are no other issues going on, of course.
Myth4: If you are young and healthy, you will have no problems conceiving a baby
Most people take their fertility for granted and don’t expect to have problems conceiving. However, 1 in 9 people who try for a baby have fertility difficulties. Although there are some things people can do to improve their fertility (such as maintaining a healthy weight and quitting smoking), some causes of infertility are beyond personal control. Fertility problems can be due to male or female factors. In some cases, the cause of infertility is unknown – this is called unexplained infertility
Myth5: After an egg is released, it can be fertilized for up to two days
While sperm can hang out and wait for their date for three days or more, an egg has only a 12- to 24-hour shelf life. So sperm have to catch it while they can. Timing is just about everything when it comes to fertility, which is why knowing the signs of ovulation (and pinpointing when you’re ovulating) is so key to conception success.
Myth6: Getting your period every month means good fertility
Unfortunately, this is not true. Getting your period at the same time every month, give or take one to two days, is a great indication that you are ovulating each month. But, although ovulation is required for conception, there are many other factors involved in getting pregnant (like “male factor” infertility, as well as uterine abnormalities or blockages in the fallopian tubes). Also, just because you experience vaginal bleeding doesn’t mean you definitely ovulate. Cycles can be “anovulatory,” which means ovulation doesn’t occur — even when there’s vaginal bleeding.
Myth 7: Those who have delivered once cannot be infertile
Many women suffer from secondary infertility–woman has previously conceived but is subsequently unable to do so. There are many factors that can affect this situation – age, lifestyle after the first birth, etc. Secondary infertility, when a couple has trouble conceiving after they’ve already had one or more babies is about as common as primary infertility when first-timers have trouble.
Myth 8: Female age doesn’t matter as long as you are under 35
Women are born with a limited egg supply that progressively declines with age. This results in a measurable decline in fertility that begins in the mid-20’s and becomes progressively steeper in the mid-30’s. After the mid-40’s the chance of a successful live birth with a woman’s own eggs is extremely low.
Myth 9: Sperm function is better after a long period of abstinence (not having sexual intercourse)
Abstinence time of 3 – 4 days is generally considered the appropriate time for good quality sperms. Lengthy sexual abstinence may affect sperm characteristics such as motility.
Myth 10: Just relax. Infertility is a psychological problem that’s all in your head
Psychological problems ARE NOT a major cause of infertility. Maybe your friends or family members have told you to stop trying so hard and simply “relax.” Although stress has been shown to contribute to infertility in some cases, it’s more likely that infertility is causing anxiety, depression and sexual problems than the other way around.