Fertility refers to the ability to conceive children and it’s a common source of tension for couples trying to have children. Infertility is a universal problem that is mired in myths and superstitions that put even more stress on couples who are already stressed out. Here are some of the most common myths that have been debunked.
Myth 1: Women’s problem
There’s a longstanding belief that fertility problems most often lie with the woman, making it a women’s problem. It takes two to make a baby. The truth is infertility affects both men and women equally. Approximately 25% of infertility relates to the male partner, 25% to the female partner, 25% a combination of both, and 25% is caused by unknown reasons.
Myth 2: Age only affects women’s fertility
Women are inundated with messages about their declining fertility as they age. Stop me if you’ve heard the one about eggs drying up and biological clocks ticking, all commonly directed at women. It is true that women’s fertility decreases with age. It can decline by as much as 50% between ages 32-37 for some women. The missing piece is that male fertility decreases with age as well. After age 40, a man is likely to begin experiencing a decrease in semen volume and motility.
Myth 3: If you already have a child, you’re good
There’s a misconception that if you already have a child, you’re safe from infertility and associated difficulties when it comes to conceiving. Secondary infertility is a common problem and can be extremely frustrating because you’ve already done it successfully before but are somehow failing this time.
Myth 4: Long-term contraception use can make you infertile
Contraception use is unlikely to have a permanent effect on your fertility. Some people get pregnant immediately after they stop using contraception, but it takes other people a little longer because of the disruption or hormonal change. Still, it has no permanent effect.
Myth 5: Irregular periods signal issues
It’s commonly believed that having a regular period means good fertility and that irregularity signals infertility. This is false. A regular period is an indicator of regular ovulation, not fertility. Although ovulation is required for conception, there are so many other contributing factors including uterine abnormalities and the male factor.
Myth 6: Orgasms and sex positions
There are so many myths about sex when trying to get pregnant. The female orgasm no matter how enjoyable is not necessary for conception. The only orgasm that counts towards conception is that of the male. There’s also no evidence that certain sex positions help. There’s a common belief that lying down after intercourse helps increase the chances of conception, however, a 2017 study found no evidence to support that belief.
Myth 7: You just need to relax or try harder
Infertility is frustrating enough without people’s unsolicited advice about trying harder or just relaxing. Fertility issues are medical conditions that cannot be solved through magical positive thinking and mindset shifts.
Myth 8: Fertility diet and supplements
It is widely believed that eating certain foods e.g., pineapples and supplements can help improve fertility. There is no evidence that a specific diet or supplement can improve fertility. You should worry about your diet only to the extent that it affects your health. Your health does have an effect on your fertility and you should move towards a healthier lifestyle even before you start trying for a baby. Good health though does not always mean good fertility.
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