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Myth busting – 5 things you're told that make trying more trying

22 January 2021

Trying to conceive can be hard enough. However, when we spend a few hours on Dr Google or even with certain family members and friends, we often find ourselves being told certain things or being given tips that make trying more trying. This article is all about myth busting!

Myth 1: Relax and it will happen

I guess we have all been told the story about that couple who stopped trying to conceive, went on holidays and then got pregnant – how frustrating is it to be given this advice? If relaxation was the key to pregnancy, infertility would be a problem easy to solve. However, it’s not that easy.

It is quite unlikely for stress to be a cause of infertility. Stress may certainly make couples less likely to want to have sex, or maybe have behaviours that are less healthy (like not being able to sleep well or eating a poor diet). However, it is not clear if there is a causal relationship between stress and infertility.

Myth 2: You need to have more sex

Contrary to what we might be told, having more sex or trying harder will not make pregnancy more likely. This is because there are only 6 days a month when pregnancy is possible: the day of ovulation and the 5 days before. These days are related to the lifespan of the egg which is up to 24 hours, and the lifespan of sperm which is up to 5 days inside the female reproductive system.

Myth 3: Keep your legs up after sex

Women commonly ask whether lying flat or keeping the legs up after sex will increase the chances of pregnancy. The myth is that sperm will come out of the body once you stand up. However, most sperm with any chance of fertilisation will have gone past the cervix almost immediately.

There is a large study that looked at pregnancy rates after insemination. It compared a group of women who spent 15 minutes lying flat, versus those who got up and moved around as soon as the procedure was completed. The study concluded there was no difference in pregnancy rates.

Myth 4. Infertility is mostly a women’s issue

A lot of people still believe that infertility is mostly a women’s issue. However, infertility affects both women and men equally. Around 30% of infertility is related to a female cause, 30% to a male cause, 20% to mixed causes and 20% to unexplained infertility.

Myth 5. Men are fertile forever

It’s a common myth that men can reproduce forever, however this is a myth. In fact, both man and women experience age-related decline in fertility. For women, fertility starts reducing in their early 30’s and when they reach their 40s, pregnancy is unlikely without assisted reproduction. For men, fertility starts declining after the age of 45. 

Do you have any fertility myths you’d like us to explore? Let us know in comments. 

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