Despite the wealth of information on fertility, many women are still very much in the dark on this most important of topics. The question of fertility comes to bear significantly on our personal lives: male and female alike.
Whether fertility is something we embrace or wish to avoid, it is a topic that deeply affects us and therefore deserves understanding. Albeit, statistics suggest that this is far from the case. In a recent study conducted by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, only 14 percent of women surveyed had an accurate understanding of how long it takes to become pregnant.
More shocking still is the finding that only 10 percent of women surveyed had a sense of the statistical probability of pregnancy across different ages. What has become clear, from this general unclearness, is that fertility fictions need to be unveiled. The following are 8 fertility myths that often negatively interfere with women’s health.
Fertility Fiction 1: Your biological age is a decade younger than it would have been in your mother’s day.
Fact: It is no big secret that innovations in the beauty industry have allowed us to appear substantially younger than we really are. Indeed, high-tech skin treatments and plastic surgery are only two of the myriad ways in which women successfully mask their real age. But while you may appear a spring chicken to the rest of the world, your eggs know better. In a recent study conducted at an infertility center in Boston, the live birth rate amongst 2700 women undergoing in vitro fertilization was a mere 28.4% for those aged 40 and 0% by age 46.
Fertility Fiction 2: A woman’s fertility only begins to decline much later in life.
Fact: What the majority of women do not realize is that fertility begins to decline before they reach the youthful age of 30. This is an unavoidable fact. Dr. Daniel Potter, reproductive specialist at the HRC in the South of Sunny California, makes this fact abundantly clear. He notes that women go from having approximately “2 million eggs to 0” between the time of their birth and when they stop menstruating. Each woman has a different number of viable eggs at different times in her life. Potter therefore suggests that women over the age of 35 have their “ovarian reserve baselines” examined in order to better assess the time they have left in which to naturally conceive.
Fertility Fiction 3: Consuming cough syrup augments the possibility of pregnancy.
Fact: While this strange fiction is distorted, it is not altogether untrue. In fact the “mucolytics” embedded in cough syrup—which are the chemicals that break down mucus—also act to make cervical secretions more liquefied and therefore better hosts to sperm. But according to Charla Blacker, a renowned reproductive endocrinologist at Detroit’s Henry Ford Health System, this would involve drinking “a lot of cough syrup.” In other words, more cough syrup than is otherwise healthy.
As we already know, consuming more than the recommended dose of any type of medication can be highly dangerous. To produce a similar effect, and boost your fertility, Blacker suggests taking Mucinex. One or two pills daily will do just the trick.
Fertility Fiction 4: It is easier to become pregnant once you have already been pregnant.
Fact: While it may appear as though getting pregnant a second time is a walk in the park, this is simply not the case. Achieving pregnancy once is a testament to the fact that a woman is adequately fertile at a certain moment in time. But as we know all too well, circumstances can and do change, Dr. Blacker warns: “Some of my most frustrated patients are those who conceived easily the first time and are now having trouble.” In order to treat what is termed “secondary infertility” a woman ought to have the same potential causes evaluated as she would if she had difficulty getting pregnant the first time around.
Fertility Fiction 5: As your temperature rises, so do your chances of becoming pregnant.
Fact: Oftentimes, women facing infertility are given a thermometer and are told to take their temperature every morning. An increase in temperature indicates that ovulation has taken place, which is the ideal time to conceive. But once ovulation has taken place, it is too late. The best way of calculating your conception calendar is by tracking your average cycle length.
The most full-proof way of calculating the ideal time to conceive is by calculating the number of days between the first day of your last period and the first day of your next one. Dr. Potter instructs, from this number “subtract 14 days and have intercourse three days in a row.” The day just calculated will fall on the second day of this sex stint.
Fertility Fiction 6: Choice of sexual position can improve chances of pregnancy.
Fact: The jury is out on the matter of how sexual positions affect prospective pregnancy. A few studies have demonstrated higher rates of success, with pregnancy, depending on the sexual position deployed. But a piece of medical advice, issued by Dr. Blacker, is that women ought to remain still for a few minutes after sex is over. She explains, “Lying quietly for a few minutes for the sperm to get to their destination can be helpful in achieving pregnancy.”
Fertility Fiction 7: Infertility is more problematic for women than it is for men.
Fact: Infertility, in reality, is an issue that plagues men and women alike. Women are certainly affected byinfertility which is largely causedbby such things as “ovulation problems, tubal disease, or endometriosis” according to Dr. Blacker. But she claims that men are equally prone to infertility for reasons such as “low sperm count, poor sperm mobility, or abnormally shaped sperm.” With 40% of fertility problems lying on the female side, and another 40% on the male side, 20% of couples trying to conceive also run into infertility issues on both their ends.
Fertility Fiction 8: Women should have sex exclusively during ovulation.
Fact: Studies indicate that couples with the most success conceiving are engaging in intercourse both on, and around, a woman’s most fertile time. Contrary to the belief that couples should only have sex when a female is ovulating, this strategy actually proves to be detrimental. Dr. Blacker explains why not to “save up” for ovulation: “older sperm are less motile and more likely to contain genetic abnormalities.” In addition, calculations are fallible and you two may risk missing the “big day” to conceive.
Fertility Fiction 9: Women who have recently stopped taking birth control are extra fertile.
Fact: Many women believe that their chances of becoming pregnant immediately after abandoning the pill are very high. However, according to a European study on oral contraceptive methods, among 2000 women who stopped taking the pill only 21 percent became pregnant within one cycle of stopping. This is not so very different from women who have never been on the pill but who are trying to get pregnant. These women stand a 20-25 percent chance of doing so per menstrual cycle. Regardless of your circumstances if you want to become pregnant having regular sex with your partner should be made a priority.