Debunking 10 Infertility Myths

Between 11 and 15% of Canadian couples struggle with infertility. If you or someone you know is currently unable to get pregnant despite having unprotected sex for a year, they are far from being alone. We’ve set out to debunk some of the ten myths listed below which are so widespread that many people perceive them as hard cold facts backed by scientific evidence. Let’s shed some light on some of these misconceptions!

It’s the woman’s fault by default

  • Historically, women have been shamed or considered as dysfunctional when they are unable to bear a child. However, according to the Tri-City Medical Center in California, women are only the cause of infertility 35% of the time. Another 35% can be traced back to men, 20% of cases are due to issues between both partners and 10% of cases are unknown. 

Fertility treatment and clinics are against nature

  • This reasoning is flawed in the same way saying someone shouldn’t be offered proper medication or treatment for a condition because their system should just naturally solve it on its own. On the contrary, fertility clinics assess whether or not there are any barriers or issues they can bring down/solve to let nature do its thing.

Raising your legs after sex will help you get pregnant

  • While it may seem sensible to hold your legs up in the air for 20 minutes after sex, it does not really increase a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Since every ejaculation contains millions of spermatozoa, whether or not sperm leaks out has a negligible effect on a woman’s chances of conceiving. In fact, according to a study conducted in the Netherlands, women may have more chances getting pregnant if they get up and walk around after sex.

No orgasm, no baby

  • The reason why this one isn’t true is because the only way to conceive is for a spermatozoid to fertilize an egg which can happen regardless of whether or not a woman experiences an orgasm—they are two completely independent processes. 

If you bring your stress level down, you’ll get pregnant

  • Everyone has heard a story about someone they know who was too stressed to get pregnant, then got pregnant after they had given up on the idea entirely. This is one of the most widespread myths regarding infertility. It is actually a form of self-blame when women assume they can’t get pregnant because of high stress levels. Infertility causes stress but there is little evidence to suggest the opposite. If there is no physiological issue, women will still conceive even under extremely stressful conditions (war, trauma, etc.).

A man’s sperm count cannot be improved

  • Smoking, excess weight, hot tubs and alcohol are associated with smaller sperm counts. Therefore, quitting some of these habits may not only be a plus for your overall health but also for a higher sperm count. A study also showed there was a correlation between men who cycle over five hours a week and smaller sperm counts. Although, there is little research to back up this study, you may want to hold off on intensive cycling if you are trying to improve your sperm count. 

Birth control leads to infertility

  • There is no evidence that suggests birth control has an effect on a woman’s fertility once she stops taking it. Many studies have looked at oral contraceptive’s possible effects on fertility. One in particular, which studied over 60,000 women in South Africa, concluded that oral contraceptives do not positively or negatively impact fertility. 

Age doesn’t affect men’s fertility

  • To quote an American study: “The idea that robust fertility for a man will continue well past a woman’s decline in fertility is untrue.” With age, semen “quality” is altered in men, which means an increasing number of sperm contains fragmented DNA. 

If you’ve had children, you don’t have to worry about infertility

  • The term for this is “secondary infertility” i.e. when a woman has previously given birth to a baby and cannot get pregnant easily again. Many factors can be at the source of secondary infertility such as: impaired sperm production, endometriosis, complications associated to a previous pregnancy. 

Pregnancy is not possible for women over the age of 35

  • According to a study conducted at the North Carolina University, within a year of trying to conceive, around 80% of women between age 35 and 39 will get pregnant. To increase overall fertility, Health Canada recommends that women maintain a healthy diet, exercise regularly, time sexual intercourses with their cycles, and avoid alcohol and tobacco. Therefore, if you are 35 and over and aren’t able to conceive, talk to a physician as there may be other underlying issues that can be solved. 

When coming across worrisome or outrageous facts about infertility, don’t believe everything you read online! If you can’t shake off your concerns, talk to a specialist. Here at Procrea Fertility, we provide a variety of treatments as well as support for you in your journey with infertility. Do not hesitate to contact one of our clinics.