Debunking the Myths related to Infertility
Published November 2022
Infertility is defined as a couple’s inability to conceive naturally after one year of unprotected sex (every 2-3 days), when trying to get pregnant. It is well known that 1 in 7 couples in the UK may have difficulty conceiving (affecting 3,500,000 of us based on todays’ population). 84% of couples will conceive naturally within a year if they have regular unprotected sex.
There are some myths surrounding infertility, which can lead to unnecessary delays to obtaining the right fertility treatments, at the right time to help you succeed when starting a family.
Here are six main myths related to infertility when trying to get pregnant:
Myth 1: Infertility is mostly a female’s problem.
Fact: Men and women can both have causal factors which can lead to infertility, which they may never even be aware of. 40%+ of fertility cases globally are related to the man alone but testing and diagnosing both partners when are experiencing problems if trying to get pregnant, can enable them to look into any suggested fertility treatments sooner.
Myth 2: The older the woman is – the less likely she is to conceive.
Fact: The age of both parties can impact the success of a natural conception. Fertility declines with age in both men and women. The quality and volume of the woman’s eggs declines with age, particularly as a woman reaches 35 years of age, as can the volume and motility of male sperm after approximately 40 years of age. Male and Female fertility tests can ensure that any problems related to age-declining fertility are highlighted and can be supported with the correct fertility treatments and intervention.
Myth 3: You should try to conceive for at least a year before seeking fertility support
Fact: Whilst this is the benchmark timescale for many couples (see the 84% above), there may be a pre-existing medical disorder such as PCOS, Endometriosis, Azoospermia, undescended testicles, hormonal imbalances or chromosomal defects, which may impact your chances of conceiving naturally. If you suspect you have a pre-existing medical or hereditary condition, or are over 35 years of age – seeking help sooner, within 6 months of trying to conceive, rather than later, can help greatly to support you on your journey to parenthood.
Myth 4: Contraception pills can interfere with your ability to conceive, even after you’ve stopped taking them.
Fact: Hormonal contraceptive medications may be prescribed for a variety of reasons; ie: to help regulate your cycle, diminish symptoms of endometriosis or painful periods, temporarily delay your fertility and prevent unwanted pregnancies. but irrespective which method you use or the length of time you may have used it, it will not interfere with your fertility. When you stop taking birth control pills, your body quickly regulates back to normal function and is prepared to conceive, so long as there are no underlying issues with either partner.
Myth 5: Fertility is not affected by your general health and wellbeing
Fact: The health of your body and mind can definitely impact your ability to conceive. Our article on Gut Health and Fertility explains how nutrition and your guts biome can impact on your fertility. Your weight (BMI), general lifestyle and external environmental factors can also heavily impact your ability to fall pregnant naturally as they can cause your hormones to go of kilter and external factors influence the very health of your eggs and sperm. When trying to conceive, you should consider undertaking fertility checks (male fertility tests and female fertility tests), to ensure your health when preparing to get pregnant.
Myth 6: You’re more likely to fall pregnant if you use special sexual positions
Fact: If people have been telling you this, chances are it’s an old wives’ tale and it worked specifically for them but there’s no scientific evidence based in reality here. Healthy sperm swim fine in any direction so it’s not necessary to use specific positions when having intercourse. Fundamentally, if there are no pre-existing medical or hereditary conditions, chances are you will fall pregnant naturally within 6 months to a year.
There can be many causes for a delay when trying to get pregnant. It is best to seek fertility support and undertake both male and female fertility checks to ensure that you do not have any underlying issues, particularly if you are concerned about the length of time it is taking when trying to conceive.
It is important that you seek specialist fertility advice sooner rather than later when preparing to get pregnant, such that you can consider any diagnosis and discuss the available fertility treatments that will support your journey.
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