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5 Common Myths About Infertility – and the Reality

5 Common Myths About Infertility – and the Reality

infertility mythsInfertility can be a heartbreaking journey for many couples, but if you find yourself struggling to conceive it’s important to know you’re not alone. What’s more, there is help available from fertility specialists.

What’s not so helpful? Scouring the internet late at night searching for the secrets to conception.

There are a lot of myths related to getting pregnant, and even well-meaning friends and fellow moms can perpetuate misinformation. Here are 5 common myths about infertility, and what you really need to know.

1. Myth: Fertility Is Always Related to Women.

Many women blame themselves for their inability to get pregnant because they assume a lack of fertility must be directly related to their womb. You may worry you’re exercising too much, obsess over your diet, or otherwise blame yourself. This assumption of guilt is almost sure to increase stress, or worse still, it may lead to shame.

Reality Check: Infertility isn’t just a “woman’s issue.” In reality, when a couple is unable to conceive, the issue can be traced back to the woman only 35% of the time. Men also contribute to infertility 35% of the time, while 20% of the time both partners are a part of the issue. In the remaining 10% of cases, the cause is unknown.

2. Myth: Just Relax and You’ll Get Pregnant Right Away.

After several months or years of trying to get pregnant with no success, it’s only natural to feel somewhat defeated. Well-meaning family and friends will probably tell you to chill out a bit to increase your chances of getting pregnant. You may even convince yourself that your own stress is the barrier to conceiving.

Reality Check: Infertility has to do with your reproductive system, not your nervous system. While learning to meditate or otherwise relax can certainly lead to a happier and healthier life, there is no evidence that relaxation alone will increase your chances of getting pregnant.  

3. Myth: Woman Can’t Get Pregnant after 35.

Most women have heard that getting pregnant after the age of 35 is difficult or even unsafe. It is a commonly held belief that postponing pregnancy until your late 30s will lead to infertility, and some potential mothers may automatically chalk up any infertility issues to their age.

Reality Check: Many of the statistics used to support the notion that pregnancy after 35 is unlikely are simply outdated. In fact, many commonly cited stats are from 18th-century French birth records! In reality, 80% of women between the ages of 35 and 39 can get pregnant in the first year of trying, compared to 85% of women younger than 35. If you are unable to conceive, don’t assume it’s your age – go talk to a doctor.

4. Myth: Putting Your Legs in the Air after Sex Will Help You Get Pregnant.

Some folks assume that having sex in the wrong position or getting up and walking around right after sex will make it impossible to get pregnant. This myth suggests that putting your legs in the air will allow gravity to take over and cure infertility.

Reality Check: Sperm are chemically designed to make a straight shot to your egg. Not only that, but there are millions upon millions of sperm in each cubic centimeter of semen. In short, unless your physician tells you to take it easy after sex, your position during or after trying to make a baby is unlikely to make a difference.

5. Myth: Being on Birth Control for Too Long Leads to Infertility.

Some women are afraid to be on the pill for too long because they believe it will lead to long-term infertility. Since most forms of birth control involve hormone regulation, common knowledge may suggest that the effects can change your reproductive system.

Reality Check: Most women are able to ovulate within weeks of going off birth control. How soon your cycle returns to normal depends on a number of variables, but 80% of women who want to get pregnant within a year of stopping birth control are able to do so. If you’re having trouble conceiving, only a doctor can tell you if it may be related to your previous use of birth control.

Infertility issues are not uncommon, and you don’t have to tackle them alone. Visit Tri-City Medical Center’s Women’s Health Services page today for more expert advice and support.