It’s no secret; most people spend the majority of their reproductive years trying to avoid pregnancy.
However, we know some people are looking forward to being parents, and others may not be sure if the whole family thing is right for them at this moment (no pressure) but want to keep that door open, just in case.
We are busting the top ten myths around infertility and arming you with some facts and tips in the event you ever feel like starting a family is right for you.
Ready to separate fact from fiction? Let’s dive right in!
Myth 1: It’s extremely difficult to get pregnant after 35 for those with ovaries.
The Truth: There is no magic number; however, as individuals with ovaries age, the quality of the eggs declines, and the number of eggs also decreases with time. These two things are a gradual decline, not a rapid change as soon as one hits a certain age. These two factors affect one’s chances of conceiving, but it doesn’t mean getting pregnant in your 40s is impossible.
Myth 2: Hormonal birth control causes infertility.
The Truth: Taking or being on hormonal birth control of any kind does not result in infertility or lead to chronic issues with fertility. Research shows that individuals who have been on hormonal birth control and stopped have the same chances of getting pregnant as those who never used hormonal birth control. In fact, it does not matter how long you have been using hormonal birth control; upon stopping, you will be just as fertile as other individuals your age who weren’t using hormonal birth control. That being said, it may take you a few weeks or months before your body returns to its natural rhythm to conceive, but many couples get pregnant despite their history with hormonal birth control.
Before you get too anxious, let’s break down what natural rhythm we are talking about above. It takes some time for those with a uterus to become fertile again after birth control because their bodies adjusted to the hormonal supplementation from hormonal birth control. Most hormonal birth controls use two hormones called progesterone and estrogen to stop ovulation, change the cervical mucus, and thin out the uterine lining so an egg can’t implant. Once an individual stops taking hormonal birth control, the body will need time for these factors to return to normal. Still, it does not mean a person with a uterus will not get pregnant right away, so be sure to use other birth control methods if you want to avoid pregnancy.
Myth 3: Fertility largely depends on the partner with ovaries and a uterus.
The Truth: Both partners contribute equally to successfully conceiving. According to statics, infertility is one-third of the time due to the partner with testicles. The same odds for the partner with ovaries and the same odds the issue is with both partners. It’s best to undergo testing and get labs drawn for both partners if you are concerned about infertility.
Myth 4: Emergency contraception decreases fertility.
The Truth: Taking emergency contraception does not impact fertility in any way. It doesn’t matter if you have taken emergency contraception once or a hundred times or five times in the last month. Emergency contraceptives contain the same hormones as hormonal birth control but in larger doses. The higher dosage is safe and has no longer-term effects of any kind as it only works to stop ovulation, so fertilization cannot happen in the short term. Those with a uterus can become pregnant shortly after taking emergency contraception if unprotected sex occurs.
Myth 5: If you are stressed out, you won’t get pregnant; just relax.
The Truth: While stress can negatively affect the body, infertility isn’t a psychological issue. You can’t just vacation an infertility issue away. Many still don’t acknowledge infertility as a medical condition and will continue to blame outside factors like stress, sleep, or how often partners are having sex. It’s essential to work with a qualified healthcare professional to get to the root of what is causing infertility so proper treatments, medications, and care plans can be in place to help resolve the issue or increase your chances of conceiving. The more time you spend blaming outside factors, the more time has elapsed from finding a solution, so our top tip is to work with a healthcare professional once you decide it might be time to start trying for a family.
Myth 6: Becoming parents as members of the LGBTQIA+ community is so difficult, it’s best not to try.
The Truth: Fertility treatments and options have come such a long way, so we encourage parents of any community to explore their options. The sperm or ovaries from couples can be utilized to create an embryo. The first step to becoming parents for members of the LGBTQIA+ community would be to find a reproductive endocrinologist who can help answer any questions you have about family planning. This specialist can get a care plan started, so you and your partner can have a roadmap with options to make your dream of parenthood a reality.
Myth 7: If you had an STI, you could be infertile.
The Truth: Those with a uterus who have a history of chlamydia or pelvic inflammatory disease can predispose them to having blocked or dysfunctional fallopian tubes, which can negatively affect the uterus and ovaries in some instances. However, if an STI is caught early, it can be treated before any permanent damage occurs. It’s crucial to get STI testing done whenever you have a new partner to lessen your chance of developing severe complications from STIs.
Myth 8: If you have already had a child, you don’t need to worry about infertility at all.
The Truth: Having a child or children doesn’t mean either partner’s fertility will stay the same in the future—fertility for those with ovaries and those with testicles declines with age. Not to mention, other health conditions can arise over time. Our hormones change daily, and just because a couple had a successful pregnancy doesn’t set them up automatically for another one. That’s why it’s so important to get testing and labs drawn every time a couple plans for pregnancy, just to make sure everything is optimal and another pregnancy can be carried to term.
Myth 9: Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t affect your fertility at all.
The Truth: While there are cases in which living a perfectly healthy lifestyle would make no difference, it makes a big difference for 95% of couples when it comes to their fertility. It’s essential to live a lifestyle with healthy habits well before planning for a family.
Maintaining a healthy weight range, taking multi-vitamins, having a solid exercise regimen, cutting down on consumption of junk foods and alcohol, and stopping smoking are all great precursors to successfully conceiving for both partners.
Myth 10: If you are having issues conceiving, IVF is the only option out there.
The Truth: IVF is one of many tools used to help couples get pregnant. While it is an excellent option for some, it’s most certainly not the end all say all. In some cases, individuals may need medication to balance out hormones or a relatively simple procedure like a small incision to open up fallopian tubes to get pregnant. There are also several alternative practices like acupuncture, yoga, meditation, and natural supplements that can all help couples get pregnant naturally. Fertility care is not one-size-fits-all; take time to find a healthcare professional who aligns with your beliefs and needs to explore your specific family-building plans.
Everyone Is Family At GeniusRx
No matter where you are in life, be it ready to start a family, just staying healthy, or managing your conditions, the team at GeniusRx is always happy to help you save money on medications. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our team.