If you’re having trouble getting pregnant or have had trouble staying pregnant, you’re not alone. 10% of all women between the ages of 15-44 have had those issues, as well, according to the CDC. It’s a wide-scale issue with a broad range of causes. However, it’s easy for anyone’s judgement to get clouded by the range of misinformation and rumors out there. Rumors that can lead to avoiding addressing the problem, believing that help is out of the question, or that there’s nothing you can do to improve your chances. Let’s smash some of the most widespread and harmful rumors.
Age doesn’t matter / age is all that matters
Age is going to be in the forefront of many women’s minds when it comes to conceiving. It has some impact and increased risks to your health, there’s no doubt about that. Women over 45, on average, have more trouble conceiving. But many believe that if they’re over 35, their chances of conceiving are basically zero, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s propagated mainly by a claim that 1 in 3 women between 35 and 39 won’t be pregnant after a year of trying. The problem with that claim? It’s looking at records from the 17th-18th century. On the other hand, there is a problem that comes with hitting 40, with less than a 5% chance of a woman getting pregnant in any given month, compared to the average of 20% for a 30 year old.
I don’t have to stop my bad habits until I get pregnant
Most women know to make a change in their diet, their habits (such as smoking), and other unhealthy choices when they get pregnant. Staying healthy does get much more important when pregnant. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not important now. Smoking is a big problem in particular, with studies estimating that it accounts for 13% of female infertility diagnoses. Acidic foods like red meat, coffee, and alcohol can reduce chances of conceiving. Alcohol, in general, can have a big impact in the body’s hormonal balance. Those changes need to be made now for many reasons that go beyond fertility.
I’ve been on the pill, so my chances are worse
Birth-control pills do have some side-effects regarding a woman’s reproductive system. Missed periods, decreased libido, and vaginal discharge are among them. Some of these side-effects have stirred fears that the pill has too big an impact and can even tank your fertility in the long-run. These fears are mostly unfounded. The pill is designed to make sure that doesn’t happen and doesn’t even delay your chances of getting pregnant all that much. After a month of not taking it, your ovulation cycle will likely be natural. Hormonal birth control does have its issues, but long-term fertility impacts shouldn’t be one of them.
We’ve had a child before, we can’t have fertility problems
This is a big one and can leave a lot of people in the dark about what’s really happening if they’re not conceiving after they’ve had a child. Both men and women can develop fertility issues after having already had a child. Women’s egg count drops as time goes on, weight might change, and issues like polycystic ovary syndrome can develop at any time. As for men, their fertility can also be impacted by changes over time. Age, health issues, and the medication they take can all affect sperm count and quality. If either of you are over 36, then it’s a good idea to get help sooner rather than later. Don’t assume you’ll get the same results.
Help is too expensive
This isn’t really a myth. Yes, fertility treatments can be expensive, especially if you’re looking at IVF, which can cost around $15,000 for a single cycle of treatments. However, there are affordable IVF plans worth investigating that are becoming more common. Before IVF, there are many more cost-effective treatments you can try too. Options include medication like clomiphene and gonadotropins, both of which can cost a lot less while losing no effectiveness if you go generic. Between 30-40% of women using clomiphene conceive by their third cycle, with each cycle lasting between three to six months. There are always options out there and often there are more affordable versions of them, too, so don’t let the fear of cost stop you from talking about your options.
If you’re trying to get pregnant and you find it simply isn’t happening, the wisest course of action is to see what the options are. Regardless of any preconceived notions of how likely you think it is or isn’t, understanding is much better than assuming.