2nd August 2019
You have probably heard tons of fertility myths from your friends, family or even the internet. Dr Google is a specialist in confusing us. The misinformation can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to know what’s true and what’s false.
In a previous blog we wrote about the myth surrounding period syncing but there are many false statements, partially true facts and plenty of questions about infertility that we wanted to explore more in depth.
In this blog, we will debunk some of the most well known myths that surround fertility.
Myths around fertility, a growing confusion.
A recent study by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) found confusing fertility advice is “sparking unnecessary worry among UK women“.
The study concluded that 86% of women say that they find information from different sources contradictory. 76% are not sure if fertility information is unbiased or impartial. Finally, 62% report feeling overwhelmed by the amount of volume and advice on offer.
The conversation around fertility is opening up within the general public but sadly, more information does not mean better information. At Adia we thought it was the right time to go through some of the most common confusing myths. On the Adia platform, you can also sign-up to ask your question directly to experts, cutting all the confusion out and ensuring you get science based knowledge and education.
Myths that can affect your fertility – what are the true facts?
Let’s clear up some myths and misconceptions about fertility. These are some of the most common ones we have heard.
Fertility Myth #1 – There are strong chances of getting pregnant on the first try.
The truth is that this is quite unusual. According to some fertility experts, when a woman is below 30, the monthly chance that a couple has of succeeding in pregnancy is 25%; then, at 38, it drops to 12%; at 40, 7%, and at 43 3-4% of women will get pregnant in any particular month that they are trying.
It is normal for couples to try for up to a year for a baby while having regular unprotected intercourse.
Fertility Myth #2 – If you have one child, you can definitely have another one.
Having a successful pregnancy doesn’t guarantee a second successful one. There are couples that struggle with secondary infertility. Sadly this still remains a taboo topic.
At Adia we like breaking the infertility taboo and we recently wrote a blog all about secondary infertility. We also invite you to read Akiko’s journey dealing with secondary infertility to hear a woman’s first hand experience.
Fertility Myth #3 – The 40s are the new 30s.
Unfortunately when it comes to a woman’s fertility, age does play a role. A woman’s fertility does decline with age and pregnancy complications, like the rates of miscarriage, also increases with age.
Fertility Myth #4 – Infertility is usually female, a woman’s problem.
Approximately 30% of fertility problems are due to male factors and 30% to woman factors, the remaining percentage can be attributed to a combination of male and female factors and unknown causes.
Here is an article where we delve into more detail about the causes of female infertility.
Fertility Myth #5 – To get pregnant you must have sex every day.
The NICE guidelines suggest having sex every 2-3 days if you are trying to conceive. Having sex every day or timing sex too much can actually impact your relationsihp and cause stress . It’s important to keep the romance.
There are some fertile signs that our experts have shared with us that you may want to keep an eye out for when trying to conceive.
Fertility Myth #6 – Being overweight or underweight can affect your fertility.
Women with very low or high BMI may have a harder time conceiving and are at risk of more pregnancy complications.
It is important to keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) within a normal range when you are trying to conceive. This is between 18.5 and 24.9. Studies have shown that being overweight can cause higher incidences of infertility and pregnancy complications. If your BMI is high, losing a small amount of weight improves the chances of conception.
If you have very low BMI you may not be ovulating and getting your period so gaining some weight will help with fertility health.
Fertility Myth #7 – A healthy diet can boost fertility.
An unhealthy diet, fatty food, starving or eating too much may affect your BMI. As discussed above it’s important to keep your BMI within a healthy range. In addition there are some nutrients (e.g. folic acid, vitamin D and omega 3) that have been associated with improved fertility health.
To learn more about preconception nutrition check out our fertility diet plan. For further information on nutrition you can join our platform.
Fertility Myth #8 – Birth control can affect your fertility.
The contraceptive injection may cause a bit of a delay to getting pregnant after removal. For all other hormonal contraceptives, the circulating amount of hormone in your bloodstream drops to normal almost immediately on removal (of the implant or coil) or stopping (pills), and there is no evidence for any significant delay to conception.
We wrote a full blog about the effects of the pill for fertility where we discuss in detail other methods of birth control and their effects.
Fertility Myth #9 – There are sexual positions that favor pregnancy.
What really enhances pregnancy is a relaxed position in which both partners reach orgasm with ejaculation in the vagina. If there are any positions that cause pain during intercourse it is best to find another position that can help a woman relax.
Fertility Myth #10 – Staying on one’s back after intercourse favors pregnancy.
Within a few seconds of intercourse, sperm rises up the cervix, so trying to retain all the fluid in the vagina isn’t necessary.
Fertility Myth #11 – Stress affects fertility.
Stress can aggravate the factors associated with infertility, like having irregular or missed period, but it is not the sole cause. Sometimes very high levels of stress that affect prolactin which can make your cycle become irregular.
Check our blog on infertility and mental health to learn more about the effect of stress and anxiety on fertility.
Fertility Myth #12 – Smoking increases infertility.
Women and men who are trying to conceive should consider not smoking and drinking alcohol. These are associated with lower quality egg as well as sperm.
These two points and plenty more are discussed in our blog “What is a healthy lifestyle”.
Fertility Myth #13 – Heat affect sperm count.
The testicles are usually at 35 ºC and at higher temperatures sperm health may be affected. Using tight clothing can promote infertility due to an increase in the temperature of the testicles. The American Association for Pregnancy supports this theory.
Fertility Myth #14 – There are professions that impact male fertility.
Examples of this are jobs that involve heating of the testicles, such as working close to very hot machinery.
The study from “Fertility and Sterility” conducted at Stanford University, added that men who have jobs that require physical strength may have more difficulty conceiving.
Fertility Myth #15 – Fertility treatments usually result in multiple pregnancies
This is changing nowadays, in the past doctors would typically transfer two or even more embryos in hopes of successful implantation. Therefore multiple births were more common with IVF, especially twins.
However, modern technology now allows embryologists and physicians to examine embryos more carefully and select one for implantation reducing the incidences of multiple pregnancies.
We hope you have found this article useful. If you want to learn more about fertility myths or have some questions for our experts you can join the Adia platform for free.
At Adia we are on a mission to empower women with the needed knowledge to succeed in their fertility path to motherhood. Our platform offers plenty of free features to help women. Amongst one of the most popular is the ability to ask questions to fertility experts for free.
Join Adia to get your facts straight and submit your question now. We will do our best to get them answered within 48 hours.