Common Misconceptions About Fertility Health, Debunked

You can’t always trust what you read on the internet or what you hear from a well-intentioned family member, friend, coworker or stranger. Those statements are never more true than when you question your fertility health. So many misconceptions float around that we thought it was high time to debunk the worst of them, explain those that may harbor a kernel of truth and debunk the completely false misconceptions about fertility health.


Debunking the Misconceptions

Anyone trying to conceive knows that sometimes it takes a while. When it begins to concern you it’s time you make an appointment with your doctor and get to the bottom of your fertility struggles. Each case is unique, and there’s no one solution for every patient. Here are some quick facts:


  • Age impacts fertility.
  • Infertility may affect either or both partners.
  • Secondary infertility happens.
  • Lifestyle and stress affect fertility.


Now, let’s take a deeper dive into common misconceptions about fertility health.


Stress is The Reason You Can’t Conceive

Stress is everywhere these days and you and your partner likely feel its effects from time to time. But stress alone is rarely the cause of an inability to conceive. However, the stress you feel along with a diagnosis of infertility may contribute to other factors that directly impact your fertility.

For example, if your stress management includes unhealthy responses such as over-consuming alcohol, smoking, binge eating or not eating at all you could undermine all attempts to treat infertility. That goes for both partners. Try using much healthier coping mechanisms such as meditation, breath work, exercise and make sure you get the right amount of sleep.


Your Weight Shouldn’t Affect Fertility

Guess what folks? Weight does have a direct impact on your fertility. Those women who are overweight or obese may suffer from PCOS, a leading cause of infertility. Obesity is a classic symptom of the condition.

Beyond PCOS, overweight and obesity in females may interfere with ovulation. Here’s how: When you are overweight, your fat cells grow. As they grow, they release estrogen. An abundance of estrogen has the effect of birth control pills in that it prevents ovulation. Being overweight or obese also interferes with IVF.

Being underweight also impacts fertility. In this case, your body fails to make enough estrogen to sustain ovulation. Underweight females may suffer from anorexia or an eating disorder. Talk to your doctor, if your weight falls below a BMI of 18.5, or above 25.0. Doctors use the BMI calculation as an assessment tool for your overall health.


Women Can’t/Shouldn’t Get Pregnant After 35

This is one of the most common misconceptions out there. And it’s been so for decades. It is true that female fertility is at its peak beginning in the late teenage years through their 20s and into the very early 30s this does not mean you can’t conceive after 35. Nor does it mean you shouldn’t. According to a report the CDC, one in six couples in which the female is 35 or older experience infertility.

Depending on the unique circumstances couples diagnosed with infertility may opt for IVF. When this is the course of treatment, you have the option for preimplantation genetic testing to rule out chromosomal abnormalities. Females nearing menopause experience a greater chance for chromosome issues. This is another reason some people perpetuate the “Over-35” misconception.


The Age of The Male Doesn’t Matter

Age impacts male fertility also. In a 2020 study published by the NIH, researchers found conception rates drop by 30% for males over 40. The reasons? Semen volume drops, sperm count drops and motility (how fast sperm can swim toward the egg) slows. Just as with females there is a drop in male hormones that impacts reproduction.


You Have to TTC for One Year Before You See a Fertility Specialist

This is a standard rule for most people. And like any rule there are exceptions. For example, if you or your partner know you have an underlying condition that could compromise your fertility seek help sooner. Females over 35 should reach out to a fertility specialist after just six months off unprotected intercourse.

Those diagnosed with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, pelvic adhesions or pelvic inflammatory disease, or those who’ve experienced an ectopic pregnancy or multiple miscarriages should seek out the guidance of a fertility specialist without waiting. And males who’ve experienced trauma to the genitalia, STIs or other chronic infections or those who’ve had surgery in the reproductive region, including a vasectomy, should also check with their doctor right away.

A Healthy Lifestyle Only Matters for Females

Because the female carries the pregnancy, many ill-informed individuals believe this misconception about fertility health. Your overall health is one of the biggest factors in fertility health. Chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders, mental health and other conditions that require medication may interfere with fertility and pregnancy in both males and females.

Diet, exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, managing stress and avoiding things like alcohol, smoking (tobacco and marijuana), vaping, fast foods and processed foods contribute to your overall health and your fertility. When you decide on treatment for infertility, your good overall health improves the odds for success.


We Have The Facts for You

There you have our top six common misconceptions about fertility health. We hope we’ve cleared things up for you. Please feel free to reach out to LA IVF if you have any questions about your fertility.