10 Misconceptions about infertility
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding infertility, also called childlessness, and as a couple going through fertility treatment, it can be hard to tell the difference between a misconception and truth. In this blog post we have gathered some of the most common misconceptions about infertility and explained if and why they are wrong.
1. Only a few struggles with infertility
This is a common misconception because infertility is often hard to talk about. Therefore, it could seem that many babies were conceived naturally, but according to WHO, 15% of all couples experience some sort of infertility and might need fertility treatment or donor gametes during their journey towards parenthood.
This means, that if you are struggling with infertility, you are far from alone. A lot of people need fertility treatments such as IUI treatment to have a baby, and fortunately, most of these eventually become parents.
2. The cause of infertility is often related to the woman
Infertility affects both women and men. In fact, the cause of infertility is divided equally between the man and the woman. In 1/3 of the couples experiencing infertility, the problem is due to factors in both the woman and the man or other unknown reasons. For the last 2/3 of couples receiving fertility treatment, the cause of infertility is found in either the woman or the man.
There can be several reasons for you not getting pregnant, if you want to read more about infertility and how you might improve your chances of getting pregnant, then follow the link to our blog Why am I not getting pregnant - 10 possible reasons why.
3. Age only affects women’s fertility and their chances of conceiving naturally
This misconception is not completely false. A woman´s fertility decreases throughout her life, and after the age of 35, the chance of natural conception is drastically reduced. Men´s fertility also decreases throughout their life, but not at the same speed as women´s. Therefore, age does affect both women's and men´s fertility, but not in the same way. If you want tips on how to increase your chances of getting pregnant, follow the link to our blog post on the subject.
As fertility in general decreases as you get older, the chance of conceiving naturally is higher in younger men and women. But being young is not the same as being guaranteed of conceiving naturally. Both men and women can suffer from diseases causing infertility. For some, the diseases are inherited and for others, infertility can be a result of operations or other diseases like cancer.
4. Birth control can lead to infertility
No studies have shown a connection between the ordinary type of birth controls and infertility. So, no need to worry if you have been on birth control for many years.
5. The solution to infertility is to try harder and more often
For some couples, this is the right way to go, but for others, it will have no effect. Your chance of getting pregnant naturally increases if you try more often, especially around the time of ovulation. A way of increasing your chances of becoming pregnant, could be through your lifestyle and diet. By eating healthy and eliminating alcohol and cigarettes from your everyday diet, both men and women can increase their fertility.
But, in some cases the sperm cells or eggs are simply not able to conceive naturally. In these cases, fertility treatment or treatment with donor sperm or eggs are needed.
6. A man is fertile if he can ejaculate
If a man can ejaculate, he may seem fertile, but this is far from the case. For the sperm cells to be able to fertilize the egg, they need to be both strong, normal shaped, and motile. It is impossible to spot with the human eye whether the sperm cells are fertile or not. A man's sperm may appear normale even though he suffers from either a low sperm count or low sperm motility.
If you would like to know whether your sperm is good enough to conceive naturally, we can recommend a sperm quality test, where the sperm is tested in our laboratory.
7. Having an irregular menstrual cycle is the same as being infertile
In some cases, an irregular menstrual cycle can be a sign of infertility, but many women with an irregular menstrual cycle will conceive either naturally or through fertility treatment. Having an irregular menstrual cycle is not the same as being infertile, but it can make the path to parenthood longer and/or require hormone therapy.
8. Infertility can always be fixed
Most of the couples experiencing problems with conceiving naturally or through fertility treatment will end up having a baby. But other may not be so lucky. Infertility is not always curable and, in some cases, the only possibility of having a child is by the help of an egg and/or sperm donor. This was the case for Johan, a father to a donor-conceived child. Follow the link to read his story.
9. If you already had one successful pregnancy, you could always have another
Secondary infertility is a problem that not many think about. It seems to be a general perception that when you have already become pregnant once, obviously you can do it again. But unfortunately, this is not always the case. Couples trying to conceive for 6 months or longer can be diagnosed with secondary infertility.
Another sign of secondary infertility is a recurrent pregnancy loss, which means the woman can conceive but cannot contain the pregnancy. If you suffer from secondary infertility, we recommend that you seek help through fertility treatments, even if your first child was conceived naturally.
10. Just relax and it will happen
This is a phrase, that many couples experiencing infertility will be confronted with. But the notion of stress having an impact on fertility has not been proved. If you are struggling to conceive naturally, we recommend seeking help at a fertility clinic or try to improve your fertility through a healthier lifestyle, if possible.
If you need donor gametes to fulfil your dream of a child, we recommend you visit our free Sperm Donor Search or Egg Donor Search, where you can see alle the donors available. We can also recommend you read our blog post about misconceptions on donor sperm.