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Common misconceptions about infertility

1 in 6 couples experiences infertility. National Infertility Awareness Week April 18-24 is an important time to focus on removing stigmas associated with the common struggle to build a family.It's also a good time to learn more about infertility and dispel misconceptions.

Myth: Conceiving a child is easy

Fact: 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: Lifestyle changes can cure all infertility problems

Fact: 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: Men don't experience infertility

Fact: 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: You're not working hard enough

Fact: 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: It's all in your head

Fact: 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: Infertility means that you can never have a child

Fact: Infertility is when a couple has trouble conceiving a child after six 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: A couple who has children cannot be infertile

Fact: 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: Seeing a fertility specialist is too expensive

Fact: While seeing a fertility specialist may seem costly, 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.

If you tried to get pregnant without success, Gundersen Fertility Services offers fertility evaluation and treatment, and a compassionate team approach to meet your needs. Start your journey here.

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