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Myths and Misconceptions About Fertility

When you are struggling to get pregnant, it can sometimes seem like everyone you meet will have advice about what to do or where the problem lies. Many couples do face challenges in achieving a successful pregnancy, so many people do have first-hand experience to share. Nevertheless, the number of fertility myths and misconceptions can be alarming.

As you start your fertility journey or consider seeking treatment, it is important to familiarize yourself with the most prevalent fertility myths. Doing so will ensure you’re not misled to believe something that could negatively affect your journey. Take a look at a few of the most common myths about fertility, as well as the actual facts, below.

Myth 1: Age Doesn’t Affect Fertility

This myth likely stems from the fact that pregnancy is possible at a range of ages, especially with modern access to fertility care. However, age can be one of the biggest factors when it comes to fertility. Age causes a fertility decline for both men and women, even though age has a greater effect on female fertility than male fertility.

When a woman is in her 20s, she has roughly a 25 to 30 percent chance of conception each month. By age 40, the chance of getting pregnant each month drops to about five percent. Male fertility usually begins to drop between the ages of 40 and 45.

Myth 2: Fertility is Only a Female Issue

Women are more likely to seek a fertility test than men, and this is often due to the belief that fertility issues are usually related to the woman. Females do have many factors that can influence their ability to conceive. However, men can face just as many issues like low sperm motility or quality or lifestyle choices that affect sperm production.

Considering male fertility is just as important when a couple is struggling to conceive. In fact, in up to half of all cases when a couple is struggling to conceive, male fertility issues are either a contributing factor or even the primary problem.

Myth 3: All Women Can Easily Get Pregnant

Infertility is far more common than most people know, affecting about 11 percent of women in the United States. Some studies even show that about 1 in 5 women between 15 and 49 struggle to get pregnant after a year of trying.

In reality, many women can have underlying issues affecting fertility, such as reproduction organ dysfunction, blocked fallopian tubes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and hormonal imbalances. Therefore, not every woman can get pregnant easily or even without a fertility test and support to assist the process.

Myth 4: Lifestyle Choices Don’t Affect Fertility

Many lifestyle factors and habits can have direct influences on fertility and the chances of getting pregnant. The rule applies to both men and women as well. If you are trying to conceive, it is incredibly important to evaluate everyday habits that could get in the way. In many cases, making simple changes can be enough to help a couple achieve pregnancy.

Some factors that could be an issue include weight, activity levels, nutrition, emotional stress, environmental exposure to toxins, medications, and substance abuse. Therefore, something like getting more exercise, changing your diet, or avoiding alcohol could help encourage fertility.

Myth 5: “Relaxing” Will Solve Fertility Issues

If you’re going through fertility issues, stress can be a normal part of the experience. Someone may have even said to you, “You’ll get pregnant when you just stop stressing about getting pregnant.”

Relaxing and doing what you can to mitigate stress is undeniably important when you are trying to conceive. Therefore, learning to cope with stress by seeking infertility counseling for emotional support can be a good addition to your fertility journey. However, simply relaxing is not usually enough to completely solve the problem.

Myth 6: IVF Is the Only Solution

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) may be one of the most talked-about routes to pregnancy, but it is definitely not the only option. Medication-based treatments, ovulation monitoring, third-party reproduction with donor eggs or sperm, and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are all fertility treatment options to consider.

While IVF does have a lot of successful outcomes, other reproductive technology methods like IUI can be successful as well. If you’d like to hear firsthand about successful IUI, be sure to read about the experience of one of our patients, Melody Hammontree.

Myth 7: Fertility Declines Rapidly After Age 35

Every individual’s body is unique, especially when it comes to fertility. While it is true that fertility levels do generally start to decline for women in their 30s, there is no pinnacle point when fertility suddenly hits a sharp decline. Further, women who are over the age of 35 have many options to consider when they are trying to conceive at 35 or older.

First, it is a good idea to start your journey to pregnancy with a fertility test to get an idea of any challenges that could be mitigated from the beginning. Also, pay close attention to physical health, nutrition, and using alcohol, tobacco, or other substances. Lastly, keep in mind that conception may take a little longer at 35 or older, so be patient and work closely with your doctor to stay on the right path.

Myth 8: Fertility Testing is Only for Those with Fertility Issues

This is one of the biggest fertility myths out there, and it can be one of the most damaging. People often assume that fertility tests are only a logical thing to seek out when they are already having issues getting pregnant. However, a fertility test can actually be a valuable tool before ever trying to conceive at all. In fact, many couples seek a fertility test as part of their pre-conception plans just to be certain they are starting their journey armed with knowledge.

Fertility tests can be especially important for couples who are in certain situations. For example, if the female is over the age of 35 or the male is over the age of 40, a fertility test may be recommended to better understand factors related to age that could affect the ability to conceive. Fertility tests can also be important for anyone who has faced difficulty conceiving in the past. For instance, if a couple has had a prior pregnancy and successful birth, but it took longer than expected to get pregnant, a fertility test can be a good idea.

Questions About Fertility? Contact the Fertility Center

The Fertility Center strives to offer every level of support to men and women looking to become parents. From comprehensive fertility testing and infertility counseling to IVF, IUI, and donor methodologies, we provide a full collection of services to help along the way. As your chosen fertility team, we help you start your journey toward pregnancy and provide the tools, support, and treatments that may be needed along the way.

We have offices in both Chattanooga and Knoxville. If you have questions about fertility and the available treatment options, be sure to reach out to find out how we can help or schedule an appointment.