When it comes to infertility, there are a lot of misconceptions and myths floating around. No matter what aspect of TTC you look at, there is at least one myth associated. These bits of misinformation can cause those with infertility feel isolated, frustrated, and can even discourage them from getting the help they need to conceive once they need it. As part of Infertility Awareness Month, we’re speaking out to raise awareness and dispel myths surrounding this disease that impacts 1 in 8 couples over the course of their life.
Below, the team at SIRM Dallas fertility center in Dallas, Texas discuss five common fertility myths and the truth behind them.
Infertility is a Woman’s Problem
When a couple has been trying to conceive without success, it is often assumed that the woman is the cause of the issue. But infertility doesn’t discriminate – the cause of infertility often falls equally on men and women. In roughly 40% of cases, the cause is due to female factors, while in another 40% of cases it’s due to male factors. The final 20% of cases are due to either both male and female factors, or are unexplained.
If You Live a Healthy Lifestyle, You’ll be Fertile Into Your 40s
For women, age is the biggest factor when determining their fertility. At age 35, a woman’s fertility begins to sharply decline due to diminishing ovarian reserve and decreases in egg quality. By age 40, a woman has only a 5% chance of conceiving each month. While living a healthy lifestyle (exercising, avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and eating a healthy diet) can decrease your chances of creating an additional negative impact on your fertility, it will not counteract the impact of your age.
Birth Control Negatively Impacts Fertility
No matter what you’ve heard, birth control does not have a negative impact on fertility. While women who have been on birth control can experience a delay in resuming ovulation and menses if they’ve been on the pill for years, birth control pills do not cause infertility. Instead, the regularity that pills provide – a predictable cycle and period, along with a decrease in menstrual pain – can mask underlying fertility issues.
I Already Have a Child, So I’ll Easily Be Able to Conceive Again
You’ve already had your first child, so getting pregnant a second time should be a breeze, right? Not necessarily. Secondary infertility, considered the inability to achieve or maintain a pregnancy after already having a child, impacts over a million couples. This can be due to increased maternal age (if you last got pregnant at 34, and now you’re 38, you’re chances of conceiving each month has dropped), impaired sperm production (men also see a decline in fertility around age 40), or other changes in your overall or reproductive health. Even if you’ve already had a child, if you’ve been trying to conceive for a year without success – or six months if you’re 35 or older – you may need to see an infertility specialist.
IVF is the Only Treatment if You’re Infertile
Even though IVF is one of the most well-known fertility treatments, it is definitely not the most common. Only 3% of infertile couples require advanced reproductive technologies like IVF to conceive. For the majority of patients, surgical procedures and fertility medications can help them achieve the family of their dreams.
Let’s not allow the misinformation surrounding infertility keep those who struggle with the disease from feeling the support and understanding they need as they strive to build their families. Instead, let us spread awareness so they know that they are not alone, and that there are options available to them. If you have questions about a fertility myth, or if you have been trying to conceive without success, contact our team of fertility experts at SIRM Dallas Fertility Clinic at 972-566-6686 today.