Infertility fact or fiction? Breaking down common fertility misconceptions

Sifting through the facts and falsehoods surrounding fertility is no easy task – especially with the abundance of incorrect or misinformation that exists. This lack of reliable material can leave prospective parents struggling with many questions.

Does someone’s fertility really decline with age? Do frozen donor eggs cost less than fresh? Will stress lead to conception troubles?

And on, and on, and on.

Without dependable facts, figuring out the next best step in your fertility journey can be confusing. That’s why it’s crucial to clear out the noise and stick to factual information.

But what are the facts?

It’s time to break through the misconceptions and learn the truth about infertility. 

Alcohol and Caffeine Have No Effect on Fertility – False

Given the stress of trying to conceive, grabbing an extra cup of coffee or glass of wine during the day sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately, studies have proven alcohol and caffeine can negatively impact fertility.

Those who have multiple drinks each week have a smaller chance of getting pregnant each month, compared to those who abstain from alcohol. They also have a higher chance of requiring fertility treatment.

As for caffeine, research shows drinking too much can lead to lower sperm quality. Caffeine can also exacerbate the negative effect of alcohol consumption on fertility.  

Fresh Donor Eggs are Better than Frozen – False

While donor eggs might not be the first choice for many hopeful parents, they’re an excellent option when other fertility treatments aren’t working.

The question is: should a hopeful parent-to-be pick fresh or frozen donor eggs?

Instinct might have you believe fresh donor eggs are the ideal option, but this isn’t the case. Not only are frozen eggs more affordable than fresh, but thanks to innovative flash-freezing techniques like vitrification, they now provide success rates that closely mimic those of fresh eggs. In addition, frozen donor eggs are more convenient and predictable, alleviating lost time due to synchronization between the recipient and the Egg Donor and the uncertainty of not knowing how many mature eggs one will receive.

As a bonus, if you choose an egg donor with frozen eggs, you’ll typically have a larger pool of donor candidates to pick from.

Fertility Declines with Age – True

People often talk about how it’s harder to get pregnant as you age, but is this true?

Sadly, yes.

By the time a female hits 30, her fertility begins to decline. Once they turn 35, the chances of conceiving each month drops to around 15%. Studies also show sperm motility and quality begins to diminish by the time a male hits 40. 

Stress Doesn’t Affect Conception Rates – False

Trying to get pregnant can be undeniably stressful. However, what surprises many hopeful parents is that stress can also make it harder to conceive.

When a person experiences stress, their body produces a substance known as alpha-amylase enzymes. Research proves higher levels of this enzyme can lead to fertility challenges. One study claims people with the highest levels of alpha-amylase in their systems are up to 12% less likely to get pregnant during their reproductive cycle.

Fertility is a Male Issue, Too – True

It can be easy to assume infertility is strictly a female issue. Realistically, more than 50% of the time male-factor fertility problems are at the root of conception troubles. These include challenges like low sperm count, diminished sperm quality, or poor sperm motility.

Thankfully, there are many viable treatment options for situations like these.

Long-Term Birth Control Usage Causes Infertility – False

While the point of birth control is typically to prevent unwanted pregnancies, many people who use it hope to become parents one day in the future. However, there are concerns that staying on birth control for the long term can make this challenging.

Thankfully, there’s no research to prove birth control usage can negatively impact future fertility. It may take some time for the substances in birth control to leave your system, but pregnancy usually remains an option once they do.

Ask Your Doctor About Other Fertility Misconceptions You’re Concerned About

When someone is desperate to start a family, it can be easy to become stuck in a whirlwind of questions regarding infertility and its treatments. Rather than worry over what is fact or fiction, it’s best to go straight to the source.

If you’re struggling to get pregnant, make an appointment with your primary care physician or gynecologist. Not only can they perform a fertility workup for you, but they can also answer any of your lingering questions about what may or may not be happening inside your body.