March 18, 2018 By Dr Vaishali Chaudhary
The Fertility Factbook: Busting The Myths
To have one’s own child is a basic instinct and a deep desire for human beings to perpetuate their progeny in order to continue its race. Fertility has been an important part of all ancient cultures. As the information and stories related to infertility have been passed over the centuries, there are also a lot of myths surrounding it. Let us find out these myths and bust them.
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Myth 1: Infertility is a woman’s problem and men are generally not responsible
As women bear children and men don’t, it is not surprising that throughout history it was always the women who have been held responsible for infertility. Modern-day research has shown that the man is solely responsible for 30% of cases of infertility and also contributes to another 30% of problems along with the woman’s issues. Abnormal sperms with fragmented DNAs can also be responsible for repeated abortions. Though a woman’s fertility starts declining in her thirties, a man’s fertility may start decreasing in the late forties.
Myth 2: Stress causes Infertility
One of the commonest free advice received by a couple trying to become pregnant is “ You are working too hard. You need to relax. Take a break and you will conceive easily”. Though there is no evidence or research to prove that the pretreatment stress levels can affect the outcomes of fertility treatments the indirect consequences of stress like irregular eating and sleeping patterns, alcohol and smoking and infrequent sex could be contributory to infertility.
Myth 3: As long as I am in good shape, I don’t have to worry about my fertility
Being in shape and maintaining a healthy weight and BMI is a great thing, but the fertility of a woman is naturally going to decrease with age. At birth, a woman has 6 million eggs, which decrease to 4,00,000 at the onset of puberty. During a woman’s lifetime, approximately 400 to 500 eggs will be released. A woman’s egg supply takes a rapid decline in the early 30s, and then most notably after age 35 which bring down the chances of conceiving.
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Myth 4: Certain foods can boost fertility
There is no magic diet that will help you get two lines on a pregnancy test. It’s a lot more important to have a well-balanced, healthy diet. Eating foods rich in folic acids like leafy green vegetables, beans, and citrus fruits can benefit chances of conceiving. A combination of a healthy diet, not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight and spending stress-free time with your partner is going to boost the fertility metre.
Myth 5: Advances in IVF can make any woman pregnant
The success rates of IVF are about 50% in women less than 35 years and it decreases as the woman’s age increases. Besides age, there are also other factors like endometriosis, uterine receptivity, the presence of fibroids that have a role in the success rates of IVF. Becoming pregnant in the late 30s and early 40s could also have chances of a high-risk pregnancy with complications like high blood pressure and diabetes sets in. So better to think of pregnancy before 35 years.
Myth 6: It is compulsory to take bed rest after IVF
There is no reason why life should be at a standstill once your embryo transfer is done. Being on bed rest has not proven to increase the success rates in any research done so far. You can go back to your daily routine only avoiding heavy exercise.
Myth 7: Prescription Drugs Affect Fertility
Some antidepressants can throw your fertility completely askew by raising your serum prolactin levels. Consequently, ovulation may be hampered. Certain medications designed to treat nausea also interfere with fertility, so if you’re planning a pregnancy, it is important to consult your doctor about which medications you should be taking.
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