MYTH #1 Infertility Issues are a Woman’s Problem Only.
This is the first and the foremost myth, not only in Pakistan but worldwide. No doubt the percentage of female infertility conditions is higher as compared to male infertility, however the involvement of males in infertility issues is not negligible in fact it accounts for 30% of infertility factors in males.
FACT: According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 30 percent causes of infertility are due to male factors, 35 percent due to female factors, 25 percent due to both partners and 15 percent due to unknown causes. So we could say males are almost equally responsible for causing infertility as the females.
MYTH #2 Birth Control Pills Cause Infertility.
Some women believe taking birth control pills leads to infertility or takes longer to conceive than those who haven’t taken the pills. These women have in mind that since birth control pills alter the hormonal levels within their body, it may change the normal functioning capacity of their reproductive system and lead to infertility.
FACT: Taking contraception will never cause infertility, however different types of contraception have different time spans for fertility to return back to normal. Mostly implants or injections take several months, but pills, patches, rings and IUDs bring the fertility back to normal almost immediately.
MYTH #3 Women Suffering from PCOS or Endometriosis are Unable to Conceive.
Poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis are one of the leading causes of infertility in our country, females with these disorders are of the opinion that they can never conceive because they often face difficulties in conceiving and on their doctor’s visits or scans, and they are diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis.
FACT: Out of the 50% of women facing infertility, around 20% have PCOS and 10% have endometriosis. Although these conditions do not meet the optimal requirements for pregnancy, they still do not fall in the category of infertility. All these women need is assistance, to help them conceive. Hence these women are advised to consult a doctor even when they are not yet ready for conception, in order to have an understanding of how to improve their chances of conceiving as well as have a basic knowledge of what to expect from their reproductive health system.
MYTH #4 Irregular Menstrual Cycles Mean a Women is Infertile.
Having irregular menstrual cycle is no doubt very frustrating for a woman who’s trying to conceive, reason being she doesn’t know the exact day or days of her ovulation, in fact at times she may not ovulate at all.
FACT: A variety of reasons contribute to irregular cycles, most common reasons are stress, over exercise and other serious problems like endometriosis. It is true that women who have irregular menstrual cycle have difficulty in conceiving; however irregular periods do not mean that the fertility is impaired.
MYTH #5 A Female Doesn’t have to Worry about her Eggs Until she is 40 Years old.
A lot of women believe that the age bracket of 35 to 40 is when they should start worrying about their eggs. Some also think egg quantity can be improved with medications, this is impossible by any means as a female has an egg reserve when she is born, this reserve only declines with time and cannot be improved.
FACT: Every female is born with a certain number of eggs; this number is approximately 1-2 million at birth. So by the time female reaches puberty this number decreases to half its original number. This ovarian reserve of eggs continues to decline with age, and declines quite rapidly in the late 20s and 30s, reaching a noticeable decline after age 35. Not only the quantity but the quality of eggs also decreases with time.
MYTH #6 Taking an Appointment from a Reproductive Health Doctor or Infertility Specialist Means You will have to go for IVF Treatment.
Couples tend to think that going to an infertility specialist means they will have to go for a test tube baby immediately or eventually. At times they have been to so many gynecologists and failed to conceive, and hence they think that IVF is their only option.
FACT: Basically reproductive health specialists also called infertility specialists are there to educate couples about their fertility potential. First thing these specialists do is get the appropriate tests done for the couple. This includes blood tests like AMH; that tells about the ovarian reserve, hormonal profile that includes FSH, LH, PROLACTIN, ESTRADIOL and TSH, as well as Tran’s vaginal ultrasound on the required days. Semen Analysis is an important parameter that is checked by most specialists to identify male infertility problems as well as sperm quality and quantity. Once these baseline infertility tests are performed, the specialists then give you the possible options which may include medications, timely intercourse procedure, and intra uterine insemination and if nothing works or if the circumstances are such that IVF is the only option then only patients are given the option of IVF.
By- Dr. Alvina Arslan Meer
ART Coordinator (MBBS) and Online Counselor