Fertility Myths – What You Should Know

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant now or want to conceive in the future, there are certain things every person should know about their fertility.

As a fertility specialist, I read lots of fertility articles in different publications and on social media.  I pay attention to what’s out there in the media because I want to know what my patients are hearing.   There are lots of fertility myths being circulated that I wish I could erase, but unfortunately, I can’t.  So, with this article, I would like to try to separate fact from fiction.  Here are some of the most common fertility misconceptions that I hear and what you should know about them:

  • Myth #1: Infertility won’t happen to me.
    • Infertility is more common than most people think. Approximately 1 in 8 couples has difficulty conceiving or maintaining a pregnancy.  More likely than not, you probably know somebody who has needed fertility treatment.  Many people just don’t realize how common fertility issues are because many couples are too embarrassed to talk about it.
  • Myth #2: Infertility is caused by the female.
    • Infertility affects men and women equally.  Approximately 1/3 of fertility issues come from the female partner, 1/3 from the male partner, and the remaining 1/3 from a combination of the male and female or an unexplained cause.
  • Myth #3: I feel young and I’m healthy, so age won’t affect my fertility.
    • Healthy living can certainly improve fertility potential, but unfortunately, it can’t reverse the effects of age on eggs and sperm.  For women in particular, as they age, both the quantity and quality of their eggs diminish, making it more difficult to conceive.
  • Myth #4: I should wait a year before seeing a doctor.
    • It’s never too early to speak with your doctor about fertility.  If you are 35 years or older, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine actually recommends starting a fertility evaluation after 6 months of trying.  A woman with irregular periods or a person who has had surgery or other conditions that may affect their fertility, would also want to seek an early evaluation.
  • Myth #5: Seeing a fertility specialist automatically means IVF.
    • Making an appointment with a fertility specialist doesn’t mean that you will automatically need fertility treatment.  In general, the process starts with a basic fertility evaluation, which may include a pelvic ultrasound, ovarian reserve testing, a hysterosalpingogram, and a semen analysis.  After a thorough evaluation, your doctor will review the testing and discuss different treatment options with you.

Knowing some fertility basics are important for any person who wants to conceive a pregnancy now or in the future.  It’s never too early to have a conversation with your physician or a fertility specialist, so that you know your options in advance.

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