6 Biggest Myths about Infertility

 

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When my husband and I decided to finally go ahead with trying to conceive our 4th child after a year debate and weighing the pros and cons, I was sure it wouldn’t take too long. In the past, the longest it had taken us to achieve pregnancy was 4 months – with our real struggle in becoming parents was to stay pregnant. As the months went on and I wasn’t yet pregnant with our fourth child, I began to worry. Sure enough I was diagnosed with secondary infertility at age 31 after only 5 months of trying. And that started our 14 month battle with infertility.

There are a lot of myths surrounding infertility – partly because we likely don’t think about it unless it becomes an issue in our own lives and also because such a personal issue is not always talked about.

Here are 6 of the biggest common myths about infertility, along with the truths:

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You don’t have to worry until you’re over 35

From my own personal experience I know this one not to be true and according to the Age and Fertility report, completed by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, infertility can strike at any age even if it is more commonly a concern when you get older. WebMD states that, “the chances of having a baby decrease by 3% to 5% per year after the age of 30. This reduction in fertility is noted to a much greater extent after age 40.

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In a 2002 study done by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention titled “Fertility,Family Planning, and Reproductive Health of U.S.Women: Data From the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (page 23)“, 11% of married women aged 15-29 have been diagnosed with infertility (defined in this study as trying to conceive for at least 12 months with no success) and that number jumps to 17% of married women between the ages of 30-34. The numbers go up as the age bracket does too with 23% of married women aged 35-39 and 27% between the ages of 40-44. 

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 It’s only a female problem

This myth I’ve heard over and over again, but according to the Office of Women’s Health, U.S Department of Health and Human Services, approximately one third of all diagnosed infertility cases are determined to be caused by male factor (low sperm count, motility, or morphology). Another one third of infertility diagnoses are thought to be primarily female-related factors for infertility and the remaining one third is a mixture of both male and female factors. These stats show that there really is no gender discrimination when it comes to infertility and it is not only a female problem. WebMD goes on further to say, “for approximately 20% of couples, the cause cannot be determined.

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Conception after already having a child is easier

I only experienced an inability to get pregnant when I was trying to conceive my 4th child. Some argue that multiple miscarriages is a form of infertility, but in the past I’d never had issues getting pregnant. I didn’t anticipate having issues getting pregnant thanks to this widespread myth, but it is just that – a myth. Secondary infertility is still widely misunderstood and often comes with its own set of complications and concerns. According to statistics collected by the Center for Disease Control in the report Fertility,Family Planning, and Reproductive Health of U.S.Women: Data From the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth (page 23), secondary infertility is not as common in married women as primary infertility, but still prevalent. According to their chart, 4% of married women between 15-29 who have had one or more births prior have been diagnosed with 12 months of infertility. The number moves slightly to 6% for married women in the 30-34 age range. 

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It’s easy to get pregnant, you just have to keep trying

While that may be true for some couples, there are others who are facing infertility for whom no matter how often they keep trying it won’t happen that easily. Depending on the cause of the infertility (which is sometimes never defined), some couples won’t get pregnant without the aid of medical intervention. This is true for female, male, and mixed factors including sperm issues, ovulation problems, and hormone imbalances.

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It’s all in your head, you just need to relax

The emotional side of infertility can be often misunderstood by anyone who’s not been in similar shoes – especially so for anyone managing secondary infertility. The truth is, there are a variety of real medical reasons why pregnancy is not happening and the emotional toll of your body not working the way it’s supposed to, all the waiting, the stress, and things beyond your control have an impact. These problems could be managed with better resources, but just that alone – reducing stress and letting go – will often not help a couple who is dealing with infertility.

 

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Infertility is rare

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, infertility is not as rare as many people may think. In their studies, they’ve found that approximately “6% of married women 15–44 years of age in the United States are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex” and therefore, diagnosed with infertility. Infertility doesn’t discriminate and with the various causes, it’s not always an easy answer on how to fix it.

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6 Biggest Myths about Infertility

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award ... More

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3 comments

  1. Profile photo of Jeni Jeni says:

    I had a boy & girl 2.5 yrs apart with no problems at all. I wanted my next one to be 2.5 from my little girl. We never planned our kids but never prevented having children either. I knew that there was something wrong when my little girl turned 3 & we still werent pregnant. I went to my OB & found out my insulin was 35 & its only supposed to be 10. I would not get pregnant with my insulin being high. She prescribed 1000 mg per day of Metformin for 2 weeks, then 2000 per day for 2.5 months. I was getting sick just taking the 1000 mg per day so I stopped talking it. Went to our regular doctor, & she got to the bottom of things. I was diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) which was keeping me from getting pregnant. She sent me on to and endocrinologist, & she put me of Metformin ER 500 mg per day. In 4 months we found out we were expecting our 3rd child!!! My current OB says that they dont understand why but Metformin makes women ovulate & will help with getting you pregnant. Im sure its not the answer for every case of infertility problems, but it helped me. Sometimes just talking to your doctor about different stories of other people or having an idea that maybe the doctor doesnt know about might help. Good luck everyone.

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