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Published on April 28, 2016

Infertility awareness: Dispelling common misconceptions

Infertility can be a difficult topic to talk about. With the complexity of infertility, many misconceptions can arise. So what is the truth about infertility? Read up on some of the common myths so you can increase your knowledge and dispel any misinformation that comes your way.

Myth 1: Conceiving a child is easy
While it's true that many couples conceive without difficultly, infertility is more common than you think. One in six couples experience challenges with infertility sometime during their childbearing years. This is because several factors can affect the ability to get pregnant including age, weight, smoking, alcohol consumption, drug intake and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Myth 2: Lifestyle changes can cure all infertility problems
While lifestyle changes may cure infertility that is caused by factors such as weight, smoking, drug intake and alcohol consumption, infertility can also be caused by ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, and genetically inherited problems in women and abnormal sperm production in men. Scheduling an appointment to see a fertility specialist could help explain the cause of infertility and if lifestyle changes are necessary.

Myth 3: Men don't have infertility problems
When bringing up the topic of infertility, some people directly rely on the thought of the woman being infertile. That's because many people don't know that men can be infertile too. In fact, the rate at which female infertility issues affect the chances of getting pregnant is equal to that of men. About 30 percent of infertility is due to a complication with the woman and 30 percent is due to a complication with the man. The other 40 percent is often unexplained or can be caused by both partners.

Myth 4: You're not working hard enough
It is commonly believed that if a couple works hard enough, they will eventually get pregnant. However, sometimes this is not the case since many other factors can cause infertility. A woman who has been trying to get pregnant for one year and is under the age of 35 is recommended to see a fertility specialist. Because fertility declines with age, a woman who is over the age of 35 and has been trying to conceive for 6 months or more with no success is recommended to see a fertility specialist.

Myth 5: Just relax, it's all in your head
"If only the couple could relax, they could have a child" is something that is commonly heard. Infertility is a condition and not something that is just in your head. The stress and worrying of not having a child are a result of infertility but not the initial cause of infertility.

Myth 6: Adopt and then you'll get pregnant
While there is always a chance that a couple could conceive a child after adopting, it would be a coincidence more than anything else. Adoption can be the right choice for you to start a family; however, don't assume it will increase your chances of getting pregnant. The probability of conceiving a child is the same before and after adopting.

Myth 7: Infertility means that you can never have a child
Infertility is when a couple has trouble conceiving a child after 6 months to a year (depending on the age of the woman), not that they can never have a child. With the many fertility options available such as ovulation induction, insemination, fertility preservation and In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), many couples can have a child—or children—by finding the right treatment for them.

Myth 8: A couple who has children cannot be infertile
Couples that have had a child together can still have problems with getting pregnant. Infertility is tricky in that it can occur at different stages in a person's life. For instance, age may affect a person's ability to conceive a child.

Myth 9: Seeing a fertility specialist is way too expensive
While seeing a fertility specialist may seem costly, an initial consultation with a fertility specialist can help determine a plan for payment. While insurance coverage is different for every patient, it may cover some fees. It is important to remember that seeing a fertility specialist is not a commitment in starting treatment, it can just be a conversation to address concerns.

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