Author: Dr. Shruti Mane
Qualification : M.B.B.S, M.S (OBG), PG Diploma in ART AND Reproductive Medicine
Common Myths and Facts About Infertility
Female age does not matter if you are under 35 years of age? – False
Women are born with a limited number of eggs that declines with age. This results in a measurable decline in fertility that begins in mid-20’s and becomes progressively steeper after 30’s. After the 40’s the chance of successful live birth with a women’s own egg is extremely low.
However, the rate of depletion of eggs may be rapid in some women as compared to their counterparts in the same age group.
I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle with respect to regular exercise, healthy food, and mindful activities so nothing can affect my fertility. – It’s a myth.
A healthy body and mind do help you to boost your fertility but cannot reverse the effects of aging on your ovaries and your sperms, also other pathological factors causing infertility like infections (tuberculosis, PID), azoospermia, varicocele, blocked fallopian tubes or uterine malformations other than the lifestyle factors cannot be prevented with a healthy lifestyle only.
We have sex daily so our chances of getting pregnant are higher. – False
Having sex everyday does not increase the chances of pregnancy as compared to those having intercourse every alternate day or during the fertile window.
For men having normal semen parameters like a normal count, motility, and morphology the chances of pregnancy are similar in cases where they have daily intercourse or on alternate days or during the fertile window.
Being on birth control pills for longer periods leads to infertility. – It’s a myth.
Couples after stopping the pill can plan a pregnancy after 2-3 months once the effect of the pills wears off and the women resumes ovulation.
Overall, oral contraceptive pills are safe and do not cause infertility.
Intra-uterine devices like copper-T used for contraception may sometimes induce infection or cause swelling in the uterus leading to infertility.
If you have conceived once and had a healthy pregnancy in the past, you cannot be infertile. – It’s a myth.
Sometimes changes in the uterus during the first delivery depending on the mode of delivery, complications if any, manipulations during the caesarean section may compromise the normal reproductive anatomy.
Also, any acquired pelvic infections post-partum or before planning a second baby can also contribute to infertility.
Some women may also experience a rapid decline of their ovarian reserve than expected hence decreasing their chances of second pregnancy.
Semen parameters are also affected depending on exposure to the fertility disruptors in the due time. Problems in conceiving your second child can cause secondary infertility.
Male’s do not have a biological clock. – It’s a myth.
Although men have the luxury of generating new sperm on a regular interval their sperm quality does decline with age.
Men can remain fertile all their lives and father children in their 70’s and beyond.
Increasing age of males was associated with significant declines in semen volume, percentage of motile sperm and normal shape.
Another study also found that women with older partners have increased chances of miscarriage as studies have shown a greater DNA fragmentation in sperms with an increasing age.
Infertility is only a woman’s problem.
Male and female infertility are equally prevalent among couples. The incidence of infertility is seen equally in men and women. 35% of the causes of infertility are due to male factor, 35% are due to female factor infertility, 10%of the causes of infertility are a combination of both (male and female factors), whereas 20% of the causes of infertility are due to unexplained reasons (no cause is found).
Putting your legs up after intercourse or avoiding standing up after sex will improve your chances of conception.
Gravity has no effect on the movement of the sperm, they will reach and unite with the ovulated egg in the Fallopian tube on their own merits.
Infertility is mostly the problem of the west and affects only small population in INDIA.
One in 10 couples in India struggles with issues related to infertility.
This issue is further amplified by late marriages, demanding lifestyles, obesity, excessive consumption of fast food, smoking, drinking and drug addiction.
Coffee has no impact on fertility, I need to stop caffeine only once I am pregnant.
Believe it or not your cups of coffee are working against you. Evidence suggests that women who drink more than 2 cups of coffee every day were half as likely to become pregnant per cycle compared to women who drank less coffee.
Caffeine can decrease your fertility, so it is better to limit those cups of coffee.
Also, you can opt for de-caffeinated drinks. Caffeine is also present in teas, colas, and chocolates in varying amounts.
All women have a 28- day cycles and ovulate on day 14 only.-Well, that is false.
Only 16% of women have a 28-day cycle. Ovulation occurs 14 days prior to your next period starts.
So, tracking ovulation becomes a tedious task when the length of the cycle keeps varying.
Women may have a cycle length of 22- 35 days.
In such cases to avoid the confusion of when ovulation occurs, and the stress induced by the ovulation tracking apps we advise the couples to have intercourse from day 8 of their cycle every alternate day irrespective of the cycle length.
This prevents both the male and female partner from the psychological stress of having intercourse during the fertile window only induced by the ovulation calculator. The pregnancy rates are observed to be the same with both methods.
Obesity has no effect on fertility.
Being overweight or obese in both the genders comes with a lot of hormonal shifts that can affect ovulation in females and sperm production in males.
70% of women with infertility issues are obese.
Obesity in males causes a decrease in the male hormone and increased production of estrogen in the fat cells leading to problems of decreased sperm production, loss of libido and sexual dysfunctions in few cases.
In females increased obesity leads to estrogen dominance and hence hinders with ovulation and process of egg formation.
Some sexual positions increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Probably. There is no research on this, but positions that allow deep penetrative sex (missionary position) may increase the chances of pregnancy it is thought that sperm is ejaculated further up in the vagina.
Laptops can impair sperm production.
The heat from the laptop when you use it on your lap is not friendly to male fertility. hence decreasing the production of sperms and increasing the number of immotile or dead sperms.
An average couple conceives within 3 months of trying.
For a couple trying to conceive it can take anywhere from 1 month to 1 year.
85% of the couples conceive within 1 year of trying, the rest 15% who do not conceive even after 1 year of unprotected sexual intercourse are the couples who need fertility evaluation and assistance.
Stress does not affect fertility or conception.
Well, this is false. High levels of chronic stress have a negative impact on fertility in both the partners.
Increase in the cortisol levels causes imbalances in the female reproductive hormones hindering the process of ovulation, few studies have also concluded that high levels of stress in females can also affect implantation of the embryo to the uterine lining.
In men high levels of stress cause problems of sexual dysfunction like erectile dysfunction, reduction in the testosterone levels causing impaired sperm production.
Women ovulate during every menstrual cycle.
This is not true. In few cases women may also have anovulatory cycles which means the egg is not produced or released from the ovary, but she gets her cycles regularly. These cases are more common in women suffering from endometriosis or in patients with non-classic PCOS.
Every fertility journey looks the same.
Fertility mostly depends on your age, time since you are trying to conceive, your ovarian reserve (AMH and antral follicle count), tubal patency of the female and the male’s semen parameters.
Every human body is different hence the time to conceive may differ from couple to couple considering the above fertility parameters.
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