5 Fertility Myths Busted.
I’m writing this blog in National Fertility Awareness Week UK 2016.
In my own words, the week is about busting fertility myths.
Because there are a LOT of fertility myths and stereotypes.
When you hear the phrase fertility issues, what comes to mind?
A woman? Maybe a high flying career woman who left it too late? Some celebrity story of successful IVF? Some sad, childless couple?
Sure, they ARE a reality. Every case is a real woman or couple. Unique. Special. Struggling. Needing support.
BUT it’s not quite so simple as that.
Fertility issues can affect all ages; men as much as women; couples who already have a child; people from all walks of life.
And fertility treatments have given joy to couples worldwide, but the truth is success rates are generally pretty low.
Here are 5 common fertility myths I want to help bust, this week and always.
#1 Fertility Issues Only Affect People Over 35
Yes, it’s rubbish. Fertility myth.
Of course fertility generally declines with age.
It does decline more sharply after age 35 in women. But that doesn’t mean on your 35th birthday, your fertility suddenly takes a massive nose dive.
It’s slowly declining before that. And it doesn’t drop off overnight.
Plus, age is only ONE factor in fertility issues. Not to be ignored, but not your only focus either, in my opinion. I wrote a whole blog about it – catch it here.
The fact is there ARE couples struggling with fertility issues in their 20s and early 30s as well as late 30s and early 40s.
Don’t be sucked in to some stereotype please.
We’ve been talking about women up till now – what about men?
Male fertility is also believed to decline with age – it’s just less clear to what extent.
#2 Fertility Issues Are “Women’s Problems”
Another one of those fertility myths!
The so-called “womens’ problems ” of whispers and even jokes. Soooo not funny. And not just in terms of fertility issues, but pregnancy, PMS, menopause and a whole host of other conditions.
It’s estimated that about a third of fertility issues are female issues; another third are male issues and the rest are unexplained or potentially both.
The most common causes of male fertility issues are:-
- low sperm count or poor quality sperm
- problems with the tubes carrying sperm
- problems getting an erection
- problems ejaculating
- inflamed testes
- an infection that caused scarred or blocked tubes
- certain medical treatments like recent surgery or some medications
- genetic problems
- lifestyle factors such as being low in nutrients, smoking and being overweight.
Many of these will need the support of your doctor.
Guys, please help yourselves too.
Take control and do what you can to boost your swimmers. Again, you might find this blog Male Fertility- How To Boost It helpful.
#3 IVF is THE SOLUTION to Fertility Issues
Nah, it’s one option.
And – in my opinion – it’s not an easy option.
IVF is where the egg is fertilised by sperm outside the womb and implanted into the womb.
There does seem to be a myth, that if you have issues, just pop to a clinic for free IVF and you’re sorted. Bun in the oven. That’s so, not the reality. Why?
- It can be a long road to get referred for treatment.
- It’s not often free. Another myth. You might have to pay yourself and it’s very expensive.
- It generally has pretty low success rates. On average 25% according to the HFEA. It might take several rounds. It might not work at all.
- It’s also not the only assisted treatment available to you. And there are other options like surrogacy or adoption.
- It’s sometimes used when doctors don’t know what’s causing the issues in the first place. So, how do they know how successful it’s likely to be, I wonder?
Of course, I’d say this as a fan of getting baby ready or baby fit before trying to get pregnant a.k.a preconception care. BUT it’s also used on couples who have risk factors for fertility issues without tackling the factors first – like general health, weight, smoking, stress …
It makes sense to me to do all you can yourself like eat well, improve your lifestyle. You’ll be maxing your chances of falling pregnant naturally or increasing the odds of IVF success. And supporting the health of any future pregnancy and child.
You know me, I have a blog or two on these subjects –
#4 If You Have One Child You’ll Be Able To Have Another
You may have been lucky enough to fall pregnant naturally and fairly easily first time. Or maybe you may have struggled. Possibly ended up choosing fertility treatment to have your first baby.
It doesn’t aways mean you’ll have the same experience next time…even with the same partner.
People who conceived naturally can struggle next time around.
Couples who had fertility treatments have been known to conceive naturally next time.
This so called “Secondary fertility” is another misunderstood issue.
You might think couples should be thankful to have one child. I’m pretty sure they’re overjoyed,but it’s not that simple.
The longing for another can be just as strong. And it can be complicated with feelings of guilt that you do already have one child when others have none yet. In reality, it’s equally crushing and confusing as any other fertility struggle.
#5 A Baby Is The Only Successful Result
This is a tough one to mention. But it’s important I think.
Of course, couples planning a baby are focussed on that goal. You want a child.
I’ve observed it overtake lives. Rock relationships. Wipe out savings. Changes people. And I understand why. Because you long for a child.
There are many routes to parenthood that you can choose – natural conception, fertility treatment, using donors, surrogacy, adoption.
But please don’t think that every couple would choose any or all of these options before giving up on their dream.
It may seem glib – that’s not my intention – but I wonder if a successful result is one that you’re ultimately comfortable with. That you can learn to live with. I choose my words, carefully. You may not be “happy” with it.
The reality is that some couples end up childless. Having exhausted every possible route. Or because some of the available options were not for them. It’s extremely hard either way.
There are some organisations offering support for couples facing involuntary childlessness. Here in the UK there’s The Dovecote http://www.thedovecote.org. “supporting, enabling and inspiring people dealing with involuntary childlessness to reconnect with their daily lives and rediscover a passion and purpose.”
I go back to where I started. Be very wary of buying into fertility myths. Please don’t fall into the trap of stereotyping these issues.
Know that 1 in 6 couples are likely to struggle. There’s probably someone in your circle – you just don’t realise it, because they don’t broadcast it. It might even be someone close to you.
Every case is a real woman or couple. Unique. Special. Struggling. Needing support. Deserving our understanding. In National Fertility Awareness Week (organised by Fertility Network UK) and every week.
Love, Kathy x
P.S. if you LOVE my hints and tips on boosting fertility, grab yourselves a FREE, private online course …it’s 7 steps or 7 days to ALL you need to know to get baby-fit, baby-ready and to boost your fertility. Whether you’re trying naturally or via IVF.
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