Fertility Myths and Misconceptions

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By Dr Simone Campbell, specialist at City Fertility Centre Brisbane. Dr Dimone Campbell 150x175_blog

When people are having difficulty conceiving, they often resort to seeking advice from a host of sources for more information. Sometimes these provide credible information and sometimes they just result in confusion and misconception. Below, I have provided the facts about some of the top myths and misconceptions I often hear.

 

Common Misconceptions:

Every woman ovulates on day 14 of her cycle - MYTH

The reality is that ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary) is individual and dependent on how long the menstrual cycle is and will not always be on day 14. For example, a woman may not ovulate until day 21 if she has a 35-day cycle.

Timing of ovulation is critical to successfully conceiving. The general rule is ovulation usually occurs about two weeks before your period starts. Count back 14 days from the beginning of your period; this would be your approximate day of ovulation. Ovulation-tracking testing kits bought over the counter are very good and the simplest ones to use are the urine-testing types. You could also try using a Fertility Awareness Calendar.

Fertility is a female issue - MYTH

When a couple is trying to conceive, the male’s reproductive health is as important as the female’s and also contributes towards optimising the chances of a healthy baby. Studies have shown that 30 per cent of infertility is due to the male factor, 30 per cent is due to the female factor, 30 per cent is because of a combined male/female factor and up to 10 per cent remains unexplained.

Age doesn’t really impact on fertility - MYTH

A woman’s age is a significant factor and often the most important indicator of a chance of conceiving.

Conception rates for normal, healthy couples are, at best, 20-25 per cent per menstrual cycle. Once a woman reaches the age of 35, her fertility begins to decline. By age 40, it is estimated that her conception rate is in the range of 8-10 per cent a month and at age 43, the pregnancy rate is thought to be as low as 1-3 per cent a month. A man’s fertility also declines from the age of 38. Age remains important even if you are fit and healthy.

When you see a fertility specialist you have to have IVF - MYTH

There are a range of options that can assist with fertility issues without involving IVF. Our fertility specialists will discuss the options available to you, based on your circumstances. Our statistics show that only about 30 per cent of patients who see our fertility specialists actually go on to IVF treatment. Often IVF is not required as there are a number of simpler fertility treatment options that can substantially improve a person’s chances of pregnancy. These include looking at lifestyle factors or treatment options such as ovulation induction, intra-uterine insemination (IUI), and surgery for conditions like endometriosis.

Sperm quality is better if you abstain from sex until ovulation is occurring – MYTH

Interestingly, infrequent ejaculation results in sperm becoming sluggish and tending to have more chance of DNA damage. Men need to ejaculate regularly to keep the sperm healthy and motile. For best results when trying to conceive, men should try to ejaculate every two days, especially when your partner is ovulating.

If you have conceived your first baby easily then the second will be easy too – MYTH

Difficulty falling pregnant with your second child when first time around it was relatively easy is often called “secondary infertility”. While there are few official statistics on the prevalence of secondary infertility in Australia, it is thought that it affects 1 in 10 couples. Sometimes an answer cannot be found for the cause of a couple’s secondary infertility; however, it is thought that the following are the most common factors affecting success: maternal age; blocked fallopian tubes; irregular menstrual cycles; poor sperm function; and lifestyle issues.

 

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