Debunking Some of the Most Common Fertility Myths

Fertility is such an emotional and complicated topic, it’s no surprise that misinformation is everywhere. When you’re eager to add a little one to your family, it can be easy to start believing old wives’ tales and obscure blogs across the internet.

As you can imagine, we spend a lot of time at Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility debunking and correcting some of these false beliefs. Here are ten of the most common fertility myths we hope to clear up now.

Myth 1: It’s easy to get pregnant.
When you’re struggling with infertility, it might seem like everyone else around you is having no problem getting pregnant. The truth though, is that for healthy couples, the chance of conceiving each month is only 20 percent. Timing and conditions have to be just right for a pregnancy to occur, no matter who you are.

Myth 2: Having a regular period means I’ll be able to get pregnant.
Unfortunately, getting your period every month, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ovulating regularly. And, even if that’s the case, there is more to fertility than just ovulation. While getting your period at roughly the same time every month is a great indication that you could get pregnant, it is not the sole factor.

Myth 3: Hormonal birth control reduces my chances of pregnancy.
Obviously, while you’re on birth control, your chances of getting pregnant are greatly diminished, but birth control has not been proven to have any harmful long-term effects on fertility. However, while you’re on it, it can mask signs of different kinds of reproductive disorders, such as PCOS. So once you stop taking the pill or remove your implant, make sure you pay attention to the regularity of your menstrual cycle; if it doesn’t become regular within three to four months, check in with your doctor.

Myth 4: If I’ve had one successful pregnancy, I should have no problem getting pregnant again.
Being able to get pregnant once, is a good sign, however the greatest detriment to a woman’s fertility is age. The time that’s passed between your previous pregnancy and now, could impact your chances of successfully conceiving again. Internal complications that occurred after your first pregnancy, weight gain, and a new partner could be reasons—besides age—that can cause infertility, even if you’ve had a child before.

Myth 5: My mom was super fertile, so I will be too.
The ability to get pregnant isn’t completely genetic—every woman is different. There are many factors that influence fertility, and while some (like POI or PCOS) are heritable, not all of them are. For example, if your partner has infertility issues, you’ll have a more difficult time conceiving, no matter how easy it was for your mother.

Myth 6: Many women are getting pregnant after 45, it’s common now.
Having kids at age 45 is possible, but it does come with challenges. If you wait until your 40 to have children—and didn’t freeze your eggs—you’ll have less healthy, quality eggs to work with. When you see celebrities or acquaintances getting pregnant at an older age, it’s often with the assistance of reproductive treatments and technologies.

Myth 7: It’s impossible to get pregnant after 40.
While it’s not easy to get pregnant after 40, it’s also not impossible. The uterus does not age the same way eggs or ovaries do. The quality of eggs naturally declines after the age of 35, but people with uteruses can still carry a pregnancy well into their 40s, as long as they’re using healthy, viable eggs. It might take advanced treatments like hormone medication, IVF, IUI, or donor eggs may be necessary to achieve a successful pregnancy, but turning 40 doesn’t end your chances of having a baby.

Myth 8: Fertility is a woman’s problem.
If we had to break it down, we’d say infertility is about 40 percent female factor, 40 percent male factor, and 20 percent shared or unknown or factors. A lot of times the brunt of the fertility conversation falls onto a woman’s reproductive health. Whenever we look into the potential causes of a couple’s infertility, we test both partners. Men can still have reproductive issues—such as low testosterone levels, low sperm motility, low sperm count, or abnormally shaped sperm—that prevent a pregnancy from occurring.

Myth 9: Infertility treatments are incredibly expensive.
The biggest misconception regarding fertility treatments and assisted reproduction techniques is that it’s super expensive. As these procedures have become more mainstream, the cost has become more reasonable. Plus, many patients are able to have some portion of their testing or treatments covered by insurance. At AZCREI, we strive to keep the process affordable, because it’s important to us to help all couples get pregnant, regardless of their income.

Myth 10: I’ll get pregnant as soon as I start fertility treatments.
It’s not guaranteed that a couple will get pregnant right away following their first treatment; there’s a certain chance of pregnancy with each month of trying. The probability of pregnancy is related to many different variables—ovulation, timing, fertilization rates, etc. However, the vast majority of patients who visit AZCREI do get pregnant—it just might not happen immediately.

Now that you have this information, we’d love to answer any other questions you have. Schedule a consultation with our team by calling (520) 326-0001 or visiting us online.