There are a lot misconceptions about conception; some
have an element of truth in them, most don't. Even
well educated people often misunderstand the issue
of infertility. Until recently, infertility was hushed.
Here are some myths that have stirred up panic and
confusion for couples who are trying to conceive.
Myth 1: I will get pregnant
as soon as we stop using contraceptives.
It can be disappointing and confusing
to stop using birth control and still find your
periods coming month after month. For the majority
of couples, conception does not take place in the
first month of trying. In fact, healthy couples
only have a one in four chance of conceiving in
any given cycle.
Myth 2: Infertility is
a woman's problem.
This myth is the most prevalent;
it's long-standing and at least thousands of years
old. If a couple was unable to have a child, the
woman was thought to be "barren." In truth,
men and women are about equally responsible when
it comes to infertility. As a case in point, in
the United States, about 35 percent of infertility
cases are solely due to female-related problems;
35% are solely male-related and 20% are due to a
combination of male and female factors, and about
10 percent are unexplained.
I never used a hormonal birth control method, so
we should get pregnant as soon as we start trying.
Just because you didn't use any
form of contraception doesn't necessarily put you
at a vantage point. While your body is comparatively
better able to regulate on its own, this doesn't
mean you can get pregnant more easily. Your fertility
can be influenced by factors other than contraceptives,
and can also be problematic for no apparent reason
Myth 4: We are both very
healthy; there is no way we could have infertility
Many men and women have severe
fertility problems and show no outward signs. Being
unhealthy increases chances for infertility, but
it does not necessarily work the other way round.
Myth 5: Infertility isn't
Infertility is defined as an
inability to conceive a child within one year of
well-timed and unprotected intercourse (or six months
if the woman is older than 35) or an inability to
carry a child to term. It is much more prevalent
than commonly thought; one in six couples have problems
conceiving a child. But with proper medical treatment,
80 percent of these couples can overcome the problem
and have a baby.
Myth 6: If we have sex
often enough, we will get pregnant.
If sperm count is not an issue
with your partner, have all the sex you want! But,
having sex during the few crucial days of each month
maximizes your chances. These are the days you ovulate,
and unfortunately, you could have sex 29 days out
for a 30-day cycle and still miss ovulation. Timing,
not frequency, is important.
Myth 7: Relax and you'll
Most infertile couples have heard,
at least once, "Relax and you'll conceive,"
"Don't try so hard" or "Maybe you
should take a vacation." In reality, stress
is not a cause of infertility, though it can frequently
be a side effect of it. Infertility is a result
of a problem or problems in the reproductive system.
A vacation doesn't magically clear up blocked fallopian
tubes or raise a low sperm count. If the couple
in question is one of the (very rare) few for whom
infertility is caused by infrequent intercourse,
a vacation can be a boon.
Myth 8: I will get pregnant
if I have sex 14 days after my period.
This is another popular misconception stressed even
today. Unless you have a perfect, consistent 28-day
cycle (which is not the norm for most women), you
are not always most fertile on day 14. Only tracking
your fertility signs will help you determine when
your ovulation period is.
Myth 9: A 35-year-old
woman can get pregnant as easily as a 25-year-old
Approximately one-third of couples in which the
female partner is age 35 or older will have problems
with fertility. A woman's fertility peaks at age
20 and declines thereafter, dropping most rapidly
after age 38. A 25-year-old woman who is regularly
having unprotected intercourse has an 86 percent
chance of getting pregnant within a year. By the
time she is 35, her chances narrow down to 52 percent.
Myth 10: Adopt and you'll
Infertile couples with adopted children become pregnant
at about the same rate as infertile couples who
do not adopt; some of those pregnancies are a direct
result of previous infertility treatment. Adoption
is an important way of building a family for many
infertile couples and some fertile couples too,
but it's not a way to get pregnant.
Myth 11: Sex In the missionary
position guarantees you a boy baby.
There is no evidence suggesting that, nor are you
likely to have a boy if you have sex standing up
or when your partner enters from behind. Nor is
there any evidence that lying on your back with
your legs in the air after sex will improve your
chance of conceiving.
Myth 12: With an orgasm,
you are more likely to conceive a boy.
The male sperm may swim towards the egg a bit faster,
but it depends whether the egg has been released
when it gets there.
Myth 13: Boys are more
likely if you conceive on odd days of the month
and girls on even days.
Odd and even days don't matter in determining gender
of baby. It's just an old wives tale spun out of
Myth 14: Your chances
of having male child increases if your partner has
Your partner's sperm does determine the sex of the
baby, but whether you have a boy or girl is a random
process. Your eggs contain just X chromosomes while
sperms contain either a Y or an X chromosome. The
sperm that gets to the egg first and fertilizes
it will determine the sex of the child. Female sperms
are larger and swim slower than the males. Sometimes
when the male sperm arrives the egg may not have
been released from the ovary and the sperm dies
off. The female sperm arrives later by which time
the egg has been released and fertilization takes
While some of the facts on infertility can
be alarming, they are not meant to upset you. Myths
about how easy it is to conceive can cause pain
and anxiety to couples suffering real infertility
experiences. That's why it is important to know