When it comes to getting pregnant and infertility, there’s no shortage of myths. Chances are you’ve heard a lot of them from well-meaning family and friends hoping to make you feel better. But when you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to separate fact from fiction — especially since believing some of these myths could hold you back from getting the care and fertility treatment you need. The list below clears up five common myths.
1.Myth: Infertility is rare. It’s easy for most women to get pregnant.
Fact: In the U.S., 15 percent of all couples will face fertility issues, and many will be diagnosed with a reproductive disorder. If you’re under 35, fertility doctors advise that you try getting pregnant for about a year before seeking help (however, don’t wait one year if you have obvious problems like very irregular periods or known pelvic adhesions.) Women ages 35 and older should see their doctor after six months of trying to conceive without pregnancy.
2. Myth: Infertility is a woman’s problem.
Fact: In about 50 percent of couples, sperm disorders or male factors cause infertility. The issue may be the number of sperm, the shape of the sperm, or sperm’s ability to effectively move. Many men who produce little or no sperm have blockages or other treatable conditions. It’s important that men be tested early during the infertility evaluation.
3. Myth: Age doesn’t affect fertility if you’re healthy. Plus, waiting to have children isn’t a problem because of new technology like in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
Fact: The older a woman is, the more likely she is to have problems getting pregnant. Fertility doctors do their best to overcome advancing age using a wide spectrum of fertility treatments, including IVF, but by the time a woman reaches 35 her chances of getting pregnant are about half of what they were between the ages of 19 and 26. After age 38, egg quantity and quality begin to drop at a substantial rate, and this trend continues into the early/mid 40s. Therefore, seeking help early may make a big difference in achieving pregnancy.
4. Myth: Conception is easy after baby #1.
Fact: More than 3 million people in the U.S. experience difficulty getting pregnant after baby #1. Known as secondary fertility, this syndrome affects couples that already have one child but are unable to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term for the second time. Many women think, “If I’ve been pregnant before, there’s no way I can have a fertility problem.” The same factors responsible for primary fertility problems are often to blame: pelvic scarring, endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, defective ovulation, poor sperm quantity or quality, and so forth. Whatever the cause, the condition either developed or worsened since the first birth. Complications during labor and delivery could have triggered a problem, or the fertility problems may be age-related if several years have passed. Treatments for primary and secondary fertility problems are the same.
5. Myth: Stress causes infertility. Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant!
Fact: This idea (oftentimes blurted out by well-meaning people) is just not accurate for those dealing with infertility. It is true that very high stress conditions can cause problems with ovulation. However, for the vast majority of couples, stress cannot be directly linked as the cause of their infertility. Many experts do believe that stress-minimizing activities (such as yoga and acupuncture) are positive for the wellbeing of the patient — but they have not been proven to give a definitive fertility benefit.
Don’t let infertility myths deter your path to parenthood. Contact Fertility Associates of Memphis if you have tried for more than a year to get pregnant.