Mythbuster Manual: Infertility, Exposed

April 10, 2018

Infertility Diagnosis

Fertility & Pregnancy

Just like legends of yore and fables of Aesop, infertility is a mysterious subject seasoned with myths and misbeliefs. There are all sorts of stories out there that one believes to be true. But in reality, many alleged truths about infertility aren’t what they claim.

In this manual, we expose 8 myths that have been embraced in popular culture.

Myth 1. Infertility is caused by the woman
False

Traditionally, there has been an accepted understanding that infertility is always pointed at the female partner. But that’s far from the truth. Only 35% of infertility cases are attributed to the woman, while 35% of cases are attributed to the man and 20% of cases are caused by unexplained factors.

Myth 2. Regular periods mean you are fertile
False

Regular periods are a good thing, but they don’t always indicate optimal fertility. The ovarian reserve declines as a woman grows older, and eggs begin to exhibit a lower likelihood of leading to a healthy pregnancy. If you are older than 30 and have difficulty conceiving, seek a consultation to evaluate your FSH, AMH and estradiol levels. Testing can reveal important details about your fertility profile and potential.

Myth 3. Everyone else seems to be having no trouble conceiving
False

Don’t be fooled by the stream of darling baby pictures flooding your Facebook feed. Chances are, at least 1 in 10 of these couples has reaped fruit after consistent efforts. In India, between 10% and 14% of couples experience infertility, and as more and more couples postpone pregnancy, this number is only poised to grow.

Myth 4. Women remain equally fertile until their early 40s
False

While we wish that were true, the fact of the matter is that fertility starts declining sharply after the age of 35. That’s not to say you can’t get pregnant after this age, but it’ll likely take you more months of trying. The risk of miscarriage is also proportionately higher after 35.

Myth 5. Men remain fertile longer than women
True

There’s no denying that the male fertility curve is far gentler than the female one. Some men are capable of fathering children in their 50’s, 60’s and even their 70’s. That being said, male fertility sees a dip after the age of 40 and children of older fathers hold a higher risk of being born with health problems like autism.

Myth 6. Infertility is impossible if you already have a child
False

It’s natural to assume that fertility is on your side when it comes to having a second child. But research indicates that about one-third of infertility occurs after the first child. Problems conceiving after the first child is termed as secondary infertility.

Myth 7. Infertility means you can never get pregnant
False

Not at all! If you’ve been trying for a year (or six months if you’re over 35 years of age) and haven’t seen success, you can always turn to treatment measures. Infertility treatments like in vitro fertilisation (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) offer superior success rates, provided you go to an established fertility clinic. Advanced technologies in IVF are especially promising for infertile couples.

Myth 8. Infertility diagnosis is time-consuming
False

A reputed fertility clinic will ensure that all your tests are limited to a one-month timeline so that your fertility specialist can present a diagnosis quickly. Tests for the female partner are geared towards assessing ovulatory, uterine and tubal health. For the male partner, a semen sample is sufficient for evaluating sperm motility, morphology and count. Unlike popular belief, these tests are not costly and provide direction to your doctor about the next suggestive course of action.
Myths can be tantalising tidbits that provide not much else than psychological setbacks. Don’t buy into everything you read or hear. If you suspect that you are suffering from infertility, have yourself formally diagnosed. With the right treatment, you can grow your family healthily without losing anymore time. Go on, take infertility by the horns.

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