Fact or Fiction: Fertility Myths Debunked
Despite how far we’ve come, with all of the medical and technological advancements in the last decade that have helped to build countless families around the world, there are still many myths about fertility. Normally, it takes either being a part of the fertility community or being close to someone who is to have an understanding of why fertility issues exist, how they are treated, and why (at times) there can be unsuccessful treatments. A lack of sensitivity and education are often responsible for thoughtless, painful questions and commentary.
Debunking fertility myths can go a long way toward helping educate those who might otherwise contribute (regardless of being well-meaning) to hurt or discomfort. We’ve outlined some common fertility myths that still make the rounds today below, as well as facts that debunk each one.
Fertility myth: Infertility can be caused solely by stress, so if you just relax, you’ll be able to conceive.
FACT: Though stress and infertility can be linked, stress is not going to be the diagnosed reason why pregnancy has yet to be achieved. Fertility issues can range from genetic issues, male sperm issues, underlying medical conditions (e.g. endometriosis), prior medical treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, hormone issues, or unexplained reasons. Fertility is complex and it cannot be summed up by simply taking a vacation or investing in self-care.
Fertility myth: The female partner is likely to be the cause of fertility issues.
FACT: Infertility impacts 1 in 4 couples across the U.S. alone, and within that statistic ⅓ of these cases are due to male factor infertility, ⅓ due to female factor infertility and the remaining third is due to unexplained infertility. Women and men are equally statistically part of infertility diagnoses. Any assumption that one partner is contributing to a fertility condition is presumptive at best and should be avoided.
Fertility myth: If you have one baby, you’ll be able to have another.
FACT: When a couple struggles to conceive after previously having no issues with their first child, it is known as secondary infertility. The assumption that if you can have one baby that you can easily have another is medically false as between attempts to conceive fertility issues can arise for a number of reasons.
Fertility myth: If you’re healthy, then age doesn’t affect fertility.
FACT: Age will always impact fertility because women are born with a set number of eggs and these eggs peak in fertility around your mid-20s and then slowly begin to decrease in quantity and quality. At age 35, it can become more difficult to conceive because this is when the quantity and quality of eggs begin to decrease at a faster pace. Male fertility is also impacted by age, though to a lesser extent -- male sperm quality can decrease as a man grows older.
Of course, if you have questions about fertility, including having difficulty conceiving, please contact the fertility specialists at Washington Fertility Center.