Infertility Myths & Misconceptions

Infertility Myth #1: Infertility is almost always caused by problems with the female’s reproductive system.

Fact: It’s common for people to think of infertility as a female problem, but only 35% of infertility cases are caused solely by female factors. Another 35% results from factors in the male reproductive system, 20% come from both, and 10% are undetermined.

Infertility Myth #2: Drinking wine is better than hard alcohol, and it does not affect fertility.

Fact: Alcohol can increase the risk of birth defects once a woman becomes pregnant and can cause a collection of birth defects known as fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). There is no known “safe” amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy, so it is generally recommended that women avoid alcohol in pregnancy.

Infertility Myth #3: Many infertile couples are trying too hard. If they would just relax, they would conceive right away.

Fact: Relaxation alone won’t help anyone become a parent. One or both partners may have a correctable medical condition that stands in the way of conception. If there’s no obvious physical explanation for infertility, a doctor can still suggest lifestyle changes that could boost the odds of conception.

Infertility Myth #4: Most couples can conceive any time they want.

Fact: According to Resolve, more than 5 million Americans of childbearing age have fertility problems. Even under the best circumstances, conception is tricky. It’s not unusual for a perfectly healthy, fertile couple to try for several months or more before achieving a pregnancy. However, if you are 35 years or younger and have been trying to conceive for one year or more (or if you are over 35 and have been trying for 6 months or more) consultation with a fertility doctor is recommended.

Infertility Myth #5: Women don’t start to lose their fertility until their late 30s or early 40s.

Fact: According to a report in the journal Human Reproduction, a woman’s fertility starts to decline at age 27, although this isn’t clinically significant. Most women of this age can still get pregnant, of course, but it might take a few more months of trying. But by the time a woman reaches 35, her chances of getting pregnant during any particular attempt are about half of what they were between the ages of 19 and 26.

Infertility Myth #6: Boxer shorts and loose pants are best for prospective fathers.

Fact: Researchers at the University of New York at Stony Brook put this piece of conventional wisdom to the test and concluded that underwear style is unlikely to significantly affect a man’s fertility.

Infertility Myth #7: Little can be done to improve a man’s sperm count.

Fact: Many men who produce little or no sperm have treatable conditions that can be addressed with fertility treatments or the help of a Urologist. Lifestyle changes—such as quitting smoking, losing weight, and staying out of hot tubs—may also help.

Infertility Myth #8: A man’s fertility doesn’t change with age.

Fact: While some men can father children into their 50’s or 60’s, male fertility isn’t age-proof. Men see a decline in fertility in their 40s, and also have been found to be at increased risk of offspring with certain health conditions, like schizophrenia.

Infertility Myth #9: Vasectomy reversals are rarely successful.

Fact: According to a report from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, some patients have a better than 50/50 chance of fathering a child after a vasectomy reversal. The longer a man waits to have a reverse vasectomy, however, the lower the odds.

Infertility Myth #10: Infertility means you can’t have a child.

Fact: Infertility means that you have been unable to have a child naturally after a year of trying (or 6 months if you are over the age of 35). With the proper treatment, the majority of people go on to have children.

Infertility Myth #11: Smoking marijuana does not affect fertility.

Fact: Smoking marijuana, even infrequently, can dramatically affect sperm and egg quality, which can have a dramatic impact on fertility.

Infertility Myth #12: Eating habits and weight have no bearing on fertility.

Fact: Poor nutrition can have an impact on fertility. Women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 or those who are severely underweight may have difficulties with fertility. Click here to download a BMI reference chart.

Infertility Myth #13: If you have intercourse a few times a month, you will get pregnant.

Fact: In conception, timing is everything. Women are the most fertile in the middle of their menstrual cycle. Experts recommend intercourse every other day in this period to increase the likelihood of natural conception.

Infertility Myth #14: If a couple opts for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), they will have multiple babies.

Fact: IVF has been used successfully for over 25 years. The goal of any skilled IVF program is a healthy, single birth. Our doctors encourage an Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) whenever appropriate, and are proud to have one of the highest eSET rates in the country.

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Your fertility plan should be too.