Fertility & Old Wives Tales: We Debunk The Myths

Old wives tales are some of the greatest and most pervasive myths that we’re told as children. I’m still not convinced that I won’t go cross-eyed if I still too closely to a tv, or that kissing a frog won’t give me warts. The beauty of these unshakable childhood anecdotes of terror is that – on the extremely rare occasion, they do hold a shred of truth. Myths revolving fertility and infertility are just as varied, colorful, ridiculous, and sometimes terrifying as any other old wives tale. And let’s be honest- the topic itself can be scary on its own.

In order to debunk some of the more common stories relating to infertility, we asked the experts at ilaya – a company that provides global solutions for all types of infertility – to reveal the truth once and for all, and so that we can find out which stories actually bear fruit. You may be surprised at the results.

Myth No.1 – One healthy pregnancy means more healthy pregnancies

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Just because you or your partner has made a baby successfully in the past, doesn’t mean it will be as successful in the future. “Fertility in both men and women can decline at any time, and for any number of reasons” ilaya says. “Sometimes, just the act of being pregnant once can change the way your body functions or can increase the risks associated with subsequent pregnancies.” This doesn’t mean that if you get pregnant, you’ll never have another child again, but it does mean that you shouldn’t feel like you’ve done something wrong if the later pregnancies aren’t as easy. Sometimes it’s just biology.

Myth No.2 – Birth control causes infertility

“Depending on the birth control methods used, some have a side effect of causing infertility issues, but these are rare and almost never encountered with the pill.” Inserts, like IUDs can cause scarring or other issues that could interrupt pregnancy rates later on, but again- these side effects are rare. Because the pill works with hormones, instead of physical blockades, there may be a small window of “infertility” while your body returns to its natural fertility cycle, but it’s usually only about a month.

Myth No. 3 – At 35, your eggs are no longer viable

“While general egg health does begin to decline around age 30, this doesn’t’ mean that it’s impossible to become pregnant. Often, it just takes a bit longer, or requires some more sophisticated measures.” Ilaya tells us that egg health declines steadily as women age, making them essentially less fertile, but in no way are they infertile. It may take better tracking of ovulation cycles, some fertility testing, or even freezing eggs at a younger age to use later in life. Essentially, most women have the ability to become pregnant until they reach menopause, it just may take a little extra effort.

Myth No. 4 – Freezing eggs or using IVF causes menopause

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“Women grow and release eggs on their individual schedules. When eggs are grown, but not released, they don’t remain viable, rather they die off as unused within a few weeks.” So really, all egg collection does is snag those extra eggs while they’re still viable, and then holds them until (or uses them immediately) when you’re ready. In no way does IVF reduce the amount of eggs a woman has in her stores.

Myth No. 5 – Your infertility is your own fault

“Fertility is rarely defined by normal lifestyle choices. While things like drugs, alcohol, STI’s and smoking can reduce fertility in some women, drinking coffee or eating gluten is unlikely to cause any problems. Fertility issues are normally genetic or the result of some manner of trauma later in life. It’s rarely within the scope of control of the woman herself.” In short? Don’t beat yourself up. Radically changing your diet or your normal habits (gardening, cleaning, walking, even jogging) are unlikely to reduce your fertility. If you maintain a normal weight and a relatively healthy lifestyle, you’ve done everything you can.

Want to know more?

When it comes to your sex life, much of it depends on your age and life stage, your sexual ambitions and abilities, and how – over time – your body changes. A woman’s sex drive, in particular, is affected by hormones, life circumstances, relationship status and self-image. Click on the link to find out the details of your sexual life stages.