The inability to give birth to a child is a very personal and stressful life experience. Because there are so many rumors and bad information about infertility, sometimes the lack of understanding about the basic facts can often lead to panic. The truth is there are so many different factors that go into a successful pregnancy that it is tough to put faith in the process unless you have correct information. At The Fertility Institute, we want to help you make informed decisions about your family planning. Here are 8 myths we would like to dispel, so you will have less to worry about.
Myth #1: Women Who Take Birth Control Become Infertile
The Facts: There are no methods of contraception that cause infertility. Some women get pregnant soon after stopping birth control, even within the first month. While using the pill, the patch, the ring and IUDs will bring an almost immediate return to fertility, other contraception methods such as implants or injection may take several months.
Myth #2: Having an Irregular Menstrual Cycle Is a Sign of Infertility
The Facts: Having an irregular period means a woman may have a harder time predicting ovulation or may not ovulate at all. It is true that conception will more difficult during those months however irregular periods do not guarantee impaired fertility. Women can have irregular periods for a variety of reasons, ranging from stress and over exercise to more serious health issues such as endometriosis. Not all of these factors threaten the ability to conceive.
Myth #3: A Woman’s Age Doesn’t Affect Fertility
The Facts: According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, a woman’s best reproductive years are in her 20s, with fertility gradually declining in her 30s, particularly after age 35. When trying to conceive within one year, women aged 20–24 have an 86 percent chance of pregnancy whereas women aged 30–34 have a 63 percent chance. Conceiving at a later age also increases the risk of pregnancy complications, such as gestational diabetes and chromosomally abnormal fetuses.
Myth #4: Women Who Have PCOS or Endometriosis are Unable to Conceive
The Facts: In 50% of the women with infertility, up to 10 percent of women have components of polycystic ovarian syndrome and roughly 6 to 10 percent of women have endometriosis. Although these conditions are not optimal for pregnancy, they just mean that women grappling with these health issues may require help to conceive. Even if a woman is not yet ready to conceive, it is advised that she speak with her doctors early to get an understanding of how these conditions may affect her reproductive health and what can be done to improve it.
Myth #5: Fertility Issues Are a Woman’s Problem
The Facts: Infertility has a nearly equal chance of being a man’s fault as a woman’s. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 35 percent of infertility is attributed to the male partner, 35 percent to the female partner, 20 percent to both partners and 10 percent to unknown causes.
Myth #6: Infertility Is Rare
The Facts: Infertility is defined as the failure of a couple to conceive after one year of unprotected intercourse. Although many women conceive without difficulty, 1 in 10 couples are infertile in the United States and approximately 15% of American women of childbearing age receive infertility care annually. Certain health conditions and factors, such as age, can affect a woman’s ability to conceive. For example, a healthy 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month, however by age 40, her chances drop to about 5 percent a month. Infertility can affect women of any age and from any background.
Myth #7: Infertility is a Psychological Problem
The Facts: Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system, not a psychological disorder. Although the disappointment and frustration associated with wanting a child and experiencing failure is very well recognized, the reality is that infertility always has an underlying physical cause.
Myth #8: Infertility Treatments Such as IVF are Too Expensive
The Facts: The truth is that treatments such as IVF are expensive but many couples find that there are acceptable ways to manage the costs: Health insurance may cover a portion of the cost, there may be low interest loans or grant money available or you can save until your money is banked for this very special use. The other truth is, although IVF is usually every couple’s best chance for pregnancy, most couples have other options to choose from.