Fertility Myths

Now that people are beginning to talk more candidly about fertility, it’s time to interrupt the current conversation and ensure that these discussions include the real facts, and not the age-old myths and misperceptions that are often shared.

Take a look at some of the top myths and misperceptions identified by those who have lived with infertility.

Myths and Facts about Infertility

See below for some of the most common fertility myths, and get the facts straight. Education is important, even before actively trying to start a family!

Top Myths


Top myths are those identified through a recent survey of women with infertility conducted by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.

MYTH: “I don’t feel 35. Age won’t affect my fertility.”

Fact: Healthy living can boost your fertility potential, but it cannot reverse the effect of age on eggs and sperm. Age is a critical determinant of fertility potential. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “I don’t have to worry about my eggs until I’m 40.”

Fact: Most women are born with approximately 1-2 million eggs. That said, by puberty, the total number of remaining eggs has already dropped to about half a million and the ovarian reserve will continue to decline with age. Women’s egg supply declines rapidly in the late 20s and 30s, and declines most notably after the age of 35. In addition to the quantity, the quality of the eggs decreases with age as well. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “I’ll be labeled a difficult patient if I ask my doctor too many questions.”

Fact: It’s important for physicians and patients to work as a team. You should never feel ashamed to ask questions about your health and about what treatments are available or right for you. What is appropriate for one couple may not be for another – either physically, financially or emotionally. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your doctor. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “Making an appointment with a reproductive health specialist automatically means IVF.”

Fact: Reproductive health specialists, such as Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs), can help you become more aware and educated on your personal fertility potential. Making an appointment doesn’t mean you will automatically begin infertility treatment. In fact, most reproductive health specialists offer checkups, sometimes called “Fertility Awareness Check-Ups”, which can include a number of tests (e.g. AMH test, FSH blood test, Estradiol test, vaginal ultrasound, semen analysis, etc.) to check ovarian reserve and sperm quality. This can be a beneficial first step in your journey to parenthood – now or in the future. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “It’s the woman’s fault.”

Fact: Infertility is not always caused by the female. In fact, it surprises most people to learn that infertility is caused by the female in one-third of cases and the male in one-third of cases. The remainder are caused by a mixture of male and female issues or the cause is not known. Given this, it’s essential that both men and women learn the fertility facts and consider being evaluated during an infertility work-up. Learn more via these links:

 

Additional Myths


MYTH: “Infertility won’t happen to me.”

Fact: Infertility is more common than you may think. About 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining pregnancy. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “Wait a year before seeing a doctor.”

Fact: Regardless of whether you want to start or grow your family today or several years down the road, it’s never too early to begin talking to your doctor about your fertility. Particularly if you and your partner are age 35 or older, if you have frequently irregular periods or conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), if you have had surgery or other conditions that might alter your fertility, or if the male partner has reason to believe he may have a low sperm count, it’s best to talk with your doctor about your options in advance. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “IVF always results in twins and triplets.”

Fact: It is true that IVF treatment increases the risk of having multiple births; this is mostly due to the transfer of more than one embryo. However, recent advances in assisted reproductive technology have dramatically improved the odds of success with the transfer of only one embryo. It is important to choose your reproductive health specialist carefully by asking questions about success rates in achieving pregnancy while avoiding multiple births, which can be accompanied by greater health risks. Learn more via these links:

 

MYTH: “You waited too long to have kids.”

Fact: As we stated above, it is true that fertility decreases with age. Although, being young doesn’t guarantee fertility. Couples in which the female partner is in her 20s, 30s and 40s could get pregnant and deliver healthy babies, or may need a bit of assistance to do so. The key is to start talking to your doctor early, so they can help find the path that works best for you, based on your goals and needs. Learn more via these links:

 


FERTILITY FACTS QUIZ


Test your knowledge of the fertility facts, and use what you learn to start a conversation with your doctor about fertility – it’s never too early! 

MYTHS VIDEO


Sidebar-Myths-Video

Hear Bobbie Thomas and two infertility patients talk about some of the more outlandish fertility myths and Dr. Richard J. Paulson, M.D. from ASRM provide some information on the facts.

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