Infertility is the inability to get pregnant with unprotected sex after a minimum of twelve months. This is a widespread condition affecting 1 in 8 couples, or 6.7 million people each year. Infertility is caused by various factors, both known and unknown. 30% of infertility cases have a known male cause, 30% have a known female cause, 30% are a hybrid, and 10% have no known cause at all. When the mental burden of continually trying to conceive without success becomes too much to bear, couples may seek medical help in the form of fertility treatments, IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), egg donation, or surrogacy. Although infertility is prevalent and is discussed more openly than ever before in history, there are still many misconceptions and old wives tales that are a disservice to hopeful parents everywhere. We are here to shine a light on the infertility facts and myths that need to be thrown out with the bathwater for good.
Top 10 Infertility Facts Vs. Fiction
It’s mind-boggling how certain ideas seem to be passed on from generation to generation, even though there are not based on any scientific facts. How many times have you heard someone say that “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” or “Feed a cold, starve a fever?” While many people accept these pieces of health advice as fact, both are untrue. The reality is that skipping breakfast won’t kill you, and you can eat when you have a fever. Falsehoods like these are not always harmful, but they can be extremely toxic regarding infertility. Here’s our list of the top ten infertility facts vs. fiction.
#1 Myth: Everyone else seems to get pregnant at the drop of a hat!
Fact: 4.5 million couples experience infertility each year
#2 Myth: You cannot get pregnant after 40
Fact: According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, “the recommended age cut-off [of pregnancy] for women of advanced reproductive age is 55. This means that women under 55 [who haven’t gone through menopause] are viable candidates for getting pregnant.”
#3 Myth: Miscarriages run in families
Fact: Just because your mom or sister had a miscarriage doesn’t mean you are destined to have one, too. Genetic causes of miscarriage account for only 5% of contributing factors.
#4 Myth: The second you adopt a child, you’ll get pregnant
Fact: No, adoption is not a fertility drug. If a couple gets pregnant after adopting, it’s chance, not caused by the adoption.
#5 Myth: Doing IVF means that you will have multiples
Fact: Actually, of all the available fertility treatments, IVF is the least likely to lead to triplets or quadruplets. Multiple births CAN happen when more than one embryo is put back into the mother’s uterus.
#6 Myth: If you are young, you cannot be infertile
Fact: The truth is that the older you are, the more likely you are to face infertility. However, being young does not make you immune from infertility. According to statistics collected by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 9% of women under 29 report difficulty getting or staying pregnant. For women 30 – 34, that percentage increases to 14%, and so on.
#7 Myth: Stress causes infertility
Fact: This idea isn’t just false, it’s extremely demoralizing to those that are struggling to get pregnant. In most couples, stress cannot be directly linked to infertility.
#8 Myth: If you got pregnant once, you can do it again
Fact: More than 3 million people in the U.S. experience difficulty getting pregnant after their first child. Known as secondary fertility, this condition is common and heartbreaking.
#9 Myth: What you eat does not affect your fertility
Fact: No, eating junk food is not directly linked to fertility issues, however being extremely overweight or underweight can have an impact on pregnancy and conception. Being underweight interferes with the ability to ovulate normally while being overweight can interfere with hormones and sperm production. It’s best to stick to a healthy balanced diet for fertility.
#10 Myth: Being on birth control for too long leads to infertility
Fact: Most women are able to ovulate within weeks of going off the pill and 80% of women who want to get pregnant within a year of stopping birth control are able to do so.
Everyone has a different infertility journey, but we all have a common goal: to be parents. So, let’s put an end to these damaging yet common infertility “facts” and spread scientifically validated information instead.