When trying to get pregnant, sometimes you’ll try anything. The advice you get from friends and family may lead you in many directions. From “just relax” to “you need a vacation”, you’ve probably heard many old wives’ tales about fertility. SIRM NYC Physician, Drew Tortoriello can help dispel many of those myths . We ask him about the myths and he shared his thoughts.
Myth #1 – It’s easy for most women to get
Infertility is actually a very common medical disorder affecting approximately 10% of all couples, which is over 14 million couples in America. Peak fertility is around the age of 27 and at that time the maximum monthly pregnancy rate is approximate 25% per month with regular intercourse. There are many different causes for infertility including lack of ovulation, male factor causes, tubal factor infertility, endometriosis and decreased egg number (premature ovarian aging). Of those people who seek treatment, the majority ultimately conceive and most do so with relatively simple treatments.
Myth # 2 – Infertility is always a woman’s problem.
Not true! About half f all infertility cases have both a male and a female component to them. Approximately 35% of all causes of infertility are solely male factor infertility. Male factor infertility can typically be identified through basic semen analysis which allows for the count of the number of sperm present, assessment of the sperm motility and sperm morphology. Risk factors for male factor infertility can include a history of testicular injury, failure of testicular descent before birth, testicular trauma, testosterone use and other medical disorders. Male factor infertility can occasionally be treated with hormonal medications, but more commonly requires enhancement of female fertility through ovulation induction and then adding in inseminations, or sperm injection into oocytes as part of the IVF process. Male factor infertility has some the highest treatment success rates.
Myth # 3 – Most patients with infertility need in vitro fertilization.
Actually, most patients with infertility can conceive with simpler treatments such as lifestyle modification, appropriately timing of intercourse, oral medications and even ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination. Less than 25% of all patients actually need advanced forms of infertility treatment like in vitro fertilization or donor eggs. The first place to start is with the basic infertility evaluation which typically includes female hormone testing, uterine and fallopian tube x-ray, semen analysis and an ultrasound.
Myth# 4 – Infertility treatment increases the risk of having a child with a birth defect.
Infertility treatment does not appear to increase the risk of birth defects any higher than if the same couple were to conceive on their own with regular intercourse. The risk of having a child with a birth defect is related primarily to female age and less commonly to male age. The most common side effect from infertility treatment is actually multiple pregnancies which can increase the risk of preterm labor, preterm delivery and other obstetrical complications. This risk can be greatly minimized by careful planning with your doctor.
Myth# 5 – Women need to have intercourse on the day of ovulation to conceive.
Sperm actually has the capacity to live in the fallopian tubes for 3 to 5 days. For couples to conceive, they do not need to have intercourse on the day or hour of ovulation; often within 2 days of ovulation is sufficient. Ovulation predictor kits occasionally can be helpful for those patients with irregular menstrual cycles; however, it may be less expensive and less stressful simply to have regular intercourse throughout the week of your most fertile time period.
Myth# 6 – Clomid therapy can help a patient with infertility.
Clomid is a medication which can help induce ovulation for patients who have irregular ovulation or a complete lack of ovulation. Patients with ovulatory disorders typically have very irregular menstrual cycles. For patients who already ovulate, Clomid does not appreciably improve the pregnancy rate and can actually increase the risk of complications due to its increased risk of multiple pregnancies and ovarian cyst formation. Prior to Clomid administration, you should have a complete evaluation including a semen analysis and hysterosalpingogram.
Myth # 7 – Once somebody has a child it’s easier to get pregnant next time.
The likelihood of conceiving a second time actually depends on the underlying cause of infertility. Medical disorders such as tubal factor infertility, male factor infertility, endometriosis and pelvic adhesions typically do not improve after pregnancy. Occasionally pregnancy rates can actually be lower when trying to have your second child due to the passage of time which can decreased egg number and egg quality.
For more information about myths or fertility treatments please contact us at 646-792-7476 to schedule a consultation appointment with him today.