Whether you are planning to start a family now, or think you may want to in the future, there’s no better time to get to know the real fertility facts. Now that people are beginning to talk more candidly about fertility, it’s time to interrupt the current conversation and ensure these discussions include the real facts, and not the age-old myths and misperceptions that are often shared.
These top myths are those identified through a recent survey of women with infertility conducted by RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association.
MYTH #1 – Infertility Won’t Happen to Me.
FACT: Infertility is more common that you think. About 1 in 8 couples have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.
MYTH #2 – Infertility is Caused by the Female.
FACT: Actually, it is equally likely to be caused by male and female factors. About one-third of infertility issues can be traced back to the female only, another one-third to the male only, and the remaining one-third of infertility cases are caused by a combination of male and female issues or by unknown reasons. For this reason, it is essential that both men and women learn the fertility facts and both consider being evaluated during an infertility work-up.
MYTH #3 – Age Won’t Affect My Fertility.
FACT: Even if you don’t feel your age, your eggs and sperm do. While healthy living, exercise and eating right can boost your fertility potential, it cannot reverse the effect of age on fertility. Most women are born with approximately 1-2 million eggs, but by puberty the total has already dropped to about a half million. Your egg supply, or ovarian reserve, will continue to decline with age, with the largest decreases occurring after the age of 35. In addition to the quantity, the quality of the eggs decreases with age as well.
MYTH #4 – I Need to Wait a Year Before Seeing a Doctor.
FACT: It is never too early to talk to your doctor about your fertility. Particularly if you and your partner are age 35 and older, if you have frequently irregular periods or conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), if you’ve had surgery or other conditions that might alter your fertility, or if the male partner has reason to believe he may have a low sperm count, it’s best to talk to your doctor about your options in advance.
MYTH #5 – I’ve Waited Too Long to Have Kids.
FACT: It is true that fertility decreases with age. Although, being young doesn’t guarantee fertility. Couples in which the female partner is in her 20s, 30s and 40s could get pregnant and deliver healthy babies, or may need a bit of assistance to do so. The key is to start talking to your doctor early so they can help find the path that works best for you, based on your goals and needs.
MYTH #6 – Making an Appointment With a Reproductive Specialist Automatically Means IVF.
FACT: Making an appointment doesn’t mean you will automatically begin infertility treatment. The Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs) at Fertility Answers, can help you become more aware and educated on your personal fertility potential. We offer fertility awareness checkups which can include a number of tests (e.g. AMH test, FSH blood test, Estradiol test, vaginal ultrasound, semen analysis, etc.) to check ovarian reserve and sperm quality. This can be a beneficial first step in your journey to parenthood – now or in the future.
MYTH #7 – IVF always results in twins and triplets.
FACT: It is true that IVF treatment increases the risk of having multiple births; this is mostly due to the transfer of more than one embryo. However, recent advances in assisted reproductive technology have dramatically improved the odds of success with the transfer of only one embryo. It is important to choose your reproductive health specialist carefully by asking questions about success rates in achieving pregnancy while avoiding multiple births, which can be accompanied by greater health risks.