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Setting the Record Straight: Debunking Common Fertility Myths

September 12, 2018
Katie Visco

As you go on your fertility journey, the internet can be a vital source of support and information. But not everything you read is true, so we are going to debunk a few of the most common fertility myths. These are facts backed by science and research that should be kept in mind when you make decisions regarding your fertility.

IVF Guarantees Pregnancy

This is a common myth that many people believe. While IVF is a very researched method for helping people struggling with infertility, it is not a guaranteed treatment. Additionally, age and other factors such as health affect IVF effectiveness.

According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), patients using their own eggs for IVF have a 55.7 percent live birth rate if they are under the age of 35. This decreases to a 43.9 percent birth rate between the ages of 35 and 37.

While these rates certainly indicate that IVF has been successful, they also reveal that IVF is not a guarantee. Make sure you speak to a professional about your chances of getting pregnant in relation to your own specific circumstances.

Freezing Eggs=Guaranteed Future Pregnancy

Simply freezing your eggs does not guarantee a future pregnancy. While cryopreservation is a great option for people who are concerned about their future fertility, like individuals undergoing chemotherapy, simply freezing eggs is not the end of your fertility journey.

According to SART, frozen eggs resulted in a 44.8 percent live birth rate for people under 35 and a 41.8 percent live birth rate for people between the ages of 35 and 37.

Although there have been conflicting reports about frozen versus fresh embryos, a clinical trial found that vitrified eggs are just as capable of resulting in pregnancy as fresh embryos. Vitrification is a form of cryopreservation that is gaining popularity due to its success. Unlike traditional methods, freezing happens at a faster rate to prevent the formation of potentially harmful crystals.

Once again, speak to a professional about their cryopreservation techniques to increase your chance of pregnancy later on.

Only Women Have Fertility Issues

One of the most common, and somewhat sexist, myths regarding fertility is that only women can struggle with infertility.

Among couples struggling to conceive, male infertility issues contribute to about 35 percent of the cases. Make sure to assess your fertility as a couple, since issues can arise from one or both of the people involved.

For males, fertility is measured by three markers: sperm count, morphology, and motility. An issue with one or many of these aspects of sperm health could be contributing to infertility.

Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes can improve sperm health.

Women Suddenly “Hit” Menopause

As discussed above, live birth rates decrease as a person ages. This is because fertility slowly begins declining due to decreased follicles and changing hormone levels. For many women, symptoms of menopause can occur even 10 years before they have completely reached menopause. This period is called perimenopause.

Menopause is not something that happens suddenly. Rather, it is a slow and natural process that happens because of a body’s natural tendency to run out of eggs.

The Biological Clock Stops Ticking at 35

This is perhaps one of the biggest myths that can affect someone’s fertility journey. Many discourses are centered around women and how their fertility window is short, fleeting, and nonexistent by the age of 35.

This could not be further from the truth. While fertility definitely decreases with age, plenty of women above the age of 35 have healthy pregnancies.

Having children before 35 does decrease the chance of birth defects, but this does not mean older people seeking to get pregnant should not try. There are plenty of ways to have healthy pregnancies, even as you age.

Speak to a professional about your options and always maintain a healthy lifestyle to aid your fertility.


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