Common Fertility Myths

There are lots of myths and misinformation about infertility and it’s causes. Here’s the low-down on what’s true and what’s not.

If you have concerns about fertility, the last thing you want is a lot of bad information from friends and family about its causes and effects. There are lots of old wives’ tales to do with having babies – but what’s true and what’s a load of rubbish?

If you have fertility treatment, you’ll have twins or triplets.

It was certainly true in the past that if you had fertility treatment and had several embryos put into your womb, you might have had several babies at the end of it. This used to happen because in many cases, only one or two embryos would become a viable baby. Of course, if all the babies were viable, you could end up with a multiple pregnancy! However, this situation has now changed. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Association (HFEA) has changed the guidelines on the number of embryos put into a woman’s uterus to avoid this (as a multiple pregnancy puts a huge strain on the mother) and now, women are often implanted with just one or at most two embryos. This, together with increases in the success rate for IVF pregnancies, means multiple births are now not such a risk.

Conceiving a second baby is easy if you’ve already had one.

If you conceived your first baby quickly and easily with no delays and no problems, you may assume that it will be just as easy a second time. But that’s not always the case. If your first pregnancy was after a delay or you had to have fertility treatment, you may already be worried about trying again. Additional factors such as tiredness and stress due to having a child don’t help, either and many people put pressure on themselves to conceive at a certain time to fit in with work or to get a certain age gap between the children. Take a look at What’s The Perfect Age Gap  to give you some realistic facts on how long a gap is best between babies. Many women experience what is called “secondary infertility” where they have problems getting pregnant with a second child. It may not mean that anything is wrong but if you have been trying for a while, or if you are significantly older than when you had your first baby, you might want to ask your doctor to refer you for tests.

Older women need fertility treatment to get pregnant

This is at least based on a little bit of truth as your fertility does decline and if you’re over 35, you might find it more difficult to get pregnant than a 25-year-old woman. But many women of that age and older conceive naturally and with no problems.

If you are an older woman and are having problems getting pregnant, ask your doctor if you would be suitable to be referred for fertility treatment.

Infertility is always the woman’s fault

Firstly, it is nobody’s “fault.” Fertility problems may be as a result of a physical problem or a previous medical condition but are not something that the person could have wanted or predicted. And secondly, there are as many causes in infertility in men as there are in women, so it is essential that you are both tested at an early stage.

Stress causes infertility

Whilst trying for a baby can be stressful and going month after month with no blue line on the pregnancy test kit makes it worse, fertility problems are physical and need to be diagnosed and treated.

Daily sex will help you get pregnant quickly

Sounds too good to be true? That’s because it is! Your eggs are released at a certain time each month – usually, 14-16 days before your next period – and healthy sperm can remain alive for up to 72 hours. So you have a small window of a few days each month when conception is possible. Of course, if you have irregular periods or your partner has a low sperm count, it may not be so easy to predict when you are both at your most fertile. Above all, make sure you don’t put pressure on yourselves.