Who hasn’t already heard a piece of advice on how to get pregnant? Nowadays it is common to read recommendations on how to get pregnant easily and quickly in forums and on various other websites. However, these recommendations are usually fertility myths.
Our psychologist and nurse at IVF-Spain Madrid, Raquel Pascual, tells us about the most common fertility myths that we often hear from patients at our clinics. With June being World Infertility Awareness month, we wanted to clear up the following fertility myths in order to combat misinformation.
A fertility myth ingrained in society: Infertility is a woman’s issue.
Some studies and research claim that 40% of fertility problems are caused by female infertility, another 40% are due to male factors, and the rest tend to be of mixed or unknown origin.
It is true that after the age of 35 the ovarian reserve decreases significantly, while men have a greater reproductive window. There is no precise information on the exact age at which their ability to reproduce decreases.
IVF is only intended for women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
Myth. Although in the origins of reproductive medicine, back in 1978, in vitro fertilisation was used to help women with blocked fallopian tubes become pregnant.
However, today IVF is used in many other contexts. These include infertility caused by endometriosis, male factor, immunological causes and infertility with no apparent cause.
Anxiety and depression lead to infertility
Through a recent study, we learned about the negative effects of stress on the reproductive health of humans. A study by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Human Development, Ohio State University and the Texas A&M Health Science Center suggests that stressed women have greater difficulty getting pregnant.
There is nothing that women who are undergoing fertility treatment hate more than hearing: “if you would just relax, you would get pregnant”. This comment adds to the guilt that arises when one does not achieve something that others consider to be natural or easy.
When we are faced with the diagnosis infertility, there are many doubts that arise, many opinions that we read on the internet, many people who advise us in different ways. From IVF-Spain Madrid we give you only one piece of advice: Solve your doubts by speaking directly to a specialised professional.
For this reason, we offer a free of charge first consultation to all those who find themselves in this situation, with the aim of effectively helping those going through this journey.
Undergoing reproductive treatment will, in most cases, lead to the birth of more than one child.
Assisted reproduction treatments are not synonymous with multiple pregnancies. In all the clinics of IVF-Life, we recommend, except in individual cases, the transfer of a single embryo. We work with advanced technologies that allow us to select the embryo with the greatest implantation potential in order to guarantee the viability of the pregnancy, thus providing better chances that the in vitro fertilisation treatment will be successful with a smaller number of fertilised oocytes.
Getting pregnant is easy
According to the National Institute of Statistics of Spain, 1 in 7 couples suffer from infertility. In Spain, there are an estimated 16,000 cases per year.
Even couples without fertility problems only have a 20% chance of achieving pregnancy every menstrual cycle. And as fertility decreases with age, the chances of conceiving after the age of 37 are reduced to 10%. After the age of 40, a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant drop to only 1%. Currently, the maternal age factor is prevalent in 70% of the couples who consult our IVF-Life group fertility centres.
If your attempts of getting pregnant without protection have been unsuccessful for more than a year, or 6 months if you are over 35, our advice as professionals in reproductive medicine is to consult a specialist in assisted reproduction to guide you on your journey towards motherhood.
Fertility clinics let you choose the gender of the baby
The answer that women and couples who ask about the possibility to choose the gender of their child receive is always the same: technically it is possible to choose the gender of the embryos that are transferred into the uterus, but Spanish law on assisted reproduction only allows this for strictly medical reasons.
Spanish legislation only allows the selection of the gender of the embryo when the goal is to prevent a serious illness, for example, diseases linked to the sex chromosomes. This selection can only be performed with the approval, on a case-by-case basis, of the National Commission of Assisted Human Reproduction.
Some sexual or postcoital positions favour conception
Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence to support this fertility myths. The reproductive process begins on its own when the semen reaches the vagina. Gravity does not play a role in this.
In fact, the texture of semen helps it to stick to the walls of the vagina. Furthermore, the sperm are able to detect the presence of an oocyte and move towards it. Nature is well prepared for the search for a new life.
Miscarriages indicate fertility problems
Abortion, like egg donation, is still a taboo subject in society even though it is much more common than it seems. Having suffered a miscarriage does not imply that the couple cannot have healthy children.
However, if you have had two or more miscarriages, you should consult a gynaecologist specialised in assisted reproduction to determine the cause. In these cases, an immunological test or aneuploidy test may be the best option to identify the cause of the miscarriages.
Bleeding after transfer indicates that treatment has not been successful.
During the first few weeks of pregnancy, the uterus has a very high blood supply. When the embryo attaches to the endometrium, which has thickened in order to accommodate the embryo, some of the blood vessels may rupture, resulting in light vaginal bleeding, commonly known as implantation bleeding.
Not all pregnant women experience implantation bleeding and, if a woman had implantation bleeding during a previous pregnancy, it does not mean that it will occur again during her next pregnancy.
It is less likely to get pregnant with frozen embryos
For most patients, embryo cryopreservation provides significant peace of mind, as it avoids having to go through an entire assisted reproduction treatment again. However, many couples undergoing treatment have concerns about these cryopreserved embryos.
However, the vitrification technique does not affect the quality of the embryo. To evaluate the main difference between a fresh embryo and a vitrified one, we must take into account criteria such as the viability of the embryo itself and, for this, it is necessary to return to the initial process of embryo selection.
When cryopreservation is used during a fertility treatment, pregnancy rates of frozen embryos and fresh embryos are equally high.
“Although the internet is a very useful tool, we must be careful with the content of many pages as it can be misleading. This misinformation can cause a woman not to consult a specialist although she really does suffer fertility problems,” explains Raquel Pascual.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you probably find it hard to believe how easy it has been for others.
But the reality is, that every person is unique, every story and every experience, just as every fertility treatment will be unique.
This is why we created this article in celebration of World Infertility Awareness Month, to shatter all those fertility myths that generate misinformation and break the taboos that exist in society.