10 Female Fertility Myths We Need to Bust Today
Myths about female infertility have existed for a very long time. Even with modern technology and better education, we still endure misconceptions about how female fertility truly works to this very day. Not only are these myths harmful because they spread poor medical advice, but they can also be insensitive or painful to some. Let’s bust some of these fertility myths so that the correct medical information can be brought to the forefront.
1. There Is a “Fertility Cliff” at Age 35
Women are at their most fertile in their 20s, with fertility typically peaking around 25. Although female fertility declines slowly as a woman ages, it doesn’t mean that a woman will automatically be unable to conceive on her 35th birthday.
2. You Always Ovulate Two Weeks Post-Period
Menstrual cycles and ovulation dates can vary from woman to woman. Your date of ovulation, or the time when you are most fertile, will be entirely different from other women, even if you appear to be on the same menstrual schedule. The “two-week rule” for ovulation should be treated like a guideline rather than a hard-fast rule.
3. It Takes Around 1-3 Months for a Woman to Get Pregnant
The amount of time it takes to conceive varies depending on ending birth control, menstrual cycle regularity, underlying conditions, ovulation prediction, and several other medical factors. For many people, it can take up to a year of trying before achieving pregnancy.
4. You Can’t Get Pregnant If You’re On Your Period
While you’re less likely to get pregnant while on your period, it is still possible. There are days during the month in which you are more likely to get pregnant (ovulation), but there are technically no days during the month that are entirely safe from conception.
5. Eggs and Sperm Live for Days After Being Released
Sperm can live for as many as five days after ejaculation into a woman’s womb, but eggs can only be fertilized for up to 24 hours post-release.
6. Stress Causes Infertility
High stress can take its toll on the human body, but this does not mean it is directly linked to an inability to conceive. Doctors may recommend taking steps to decrease stress, but you will not receive an infertility diagnosis with stress as the primary or singular cause.
7. I Can Use Tobacco Products Until I Know I’m Pregnant
8. You Don’t Need to Visit With a Fertility Specialist Unless You’ve Been Trying for a Year
Women are advised to connect with their gynecologists who may later refer them to a fertility specialist if they have been trying for six months to a year without a positive pregnancy test. There may be an underlying condition to consider or an irregular period in need of treatment.
9. Birth Control Can Make You Infertile
Birth control methods prevent pregnancy intentionally and help regulate a woman’s cycle, but they do not cause infertility. Most birth control methods involve introducing added hormone levels to prevent pregnancy, and when stopped/removed, their effects are either immediately or soon after removed.
10. You Can Become Infertile if You Donate Your Eggs
No, egg donation does not cause female infertility. The process involves medications that stimulate egg production and a retrieval procedure to retrieve those eggs for donation, but neither will cause infertility in the near future or long-term.
Ultimately, questions regarding fertility and any concerns about the ability to conceive or the need for treatment should be referred to a doctor/fertility specialist. It is also important for those who do ultimately require treatment or third-party assistance to remember that modern families are built in many ways and are no less connected from one person to another through love than any other family.