pregnancy

5 fertility myths a doctor wishes you would stop believing.

While there's so much information and advice out there these days, the conversation around fertility can tends to be rather crowded. Confusing. Overwhelming. Scary as hell.

Our social feeds (and the Internet in general) are packed with people on their fertility journey, those who have tried some crazy treatment to help them conceive or those dishing out unsolicited advice on what you could be doing wrong.

It's a lot.

Especially if you're one of the folk who are struggling with infertility

Watch: Here's things pregnant people NEVER say. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

There's so much information and so many different opinions on the topic - it can be really hard to know what's true and what's just total BS. 

That's why we had a chat with Dr Imaan Joshi, an accredited GP from Skin Essentials, to get to the bottom of the biggest myths of fertility. 

Here's what you need to know.

1. Hormonal contraceptives don't cause infertility. 

This is one of the most common myths getting around. If you search 'fertility' and have a slink around Google, chances are you'll come across something that says going on birth control will make it harder to get pregnant.

"No contraception, including permanent methods such as tubal ligation and vasectomy, are 100 per cent guaranteed to prevent pregnancy - any doctor who’s in the field has seen many examples of failed contraception," said Dr Joshi.

"As for hormonal methods, most of them work by altering the menstrual cycle, making pregnancy much harder. However, success rates even with 100 per cent compliance are still around 97 to 99 per cent effective for the best of them."

Bottom line? Hormonal contraception doesn't cause infertility.

"What people typically mean when they worry about infertility with methods such as the contraceptive pill (coming off it may delay return of periods for some months), or the IUD (which may cause up to 20 per cent of women to have no periods, which some women worry is abnormal/wrong), is the side effects of what may happen when they stop the contraception and are actively trying to conceive and it won’t happen immediately."

"However, there’s no evidence that any contraceptive currently on the market causes infertility," said Dr Joshi.

Turns out, if you've been on hormonal contraception for a long time - say 10-20 years - chances are you're struggling to conceive due to your age, not the birth control you're on. 

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The fact is (as harsh as it may be), we're all born with a set number of eggs which steadily decline in number and quality with age.

2. You can't get pregnant naturally with PCOS.

Polycystic ovary syndrome is common as hell. We either have it or we know someone who has it. An estimated 12 to 21 per cent of women of reproductive age have the condition. And most of these women will be told (or hear) that they will be unlikely to fall pregnant naturally.

However, although this has all been drilled into our heads, it isn't necessarily the case. Far from it, in fact.

"Having PCOS usually means women with it meet certain diagnostic criteria, which includes irregular periods and even long periods (of time) of no periods - as such when planning pregnancy using tracking methods are far less reliable in someone with unpredictable or prolonged cycles," said Dr Joshi.

"But, it is possible and anecdotally we’ve all seen a case or two of just that."

3. You can't get pregnant in your 40s.

"Generally speaking, women are born with all the eggs we will ever have and these begin to die with age. As such, a 25-year-old's eggs are of better quality and greater in number than a 40-year-old’s eggs," explains Dr Joshi.

However! "We’ve all known women in their (early) 40s who’ve occasionally managed to conceive spontaneously and given birth to a healthy baby," said Dr Joshi.

Listen: Everything you need to know about putting your eggs on ice. Post continues below.

So, yeah. While it's no doubt harder to conceive when you're older - it is definitely possible to carry a healthy baby in your 40s.

"The advice used to be that it was harder after age 35, but in recent years (possibly due to improved quality of life and health) there’s suggestion that it’s still possible to have a healthy pregnancy in your late 30s and even around 40."

4. Lube makes it harder to get pregnant.

This is not a thing, pals. 

While you've probably heard that lubricant prevents sperm from doing its thing and meeting the egg, most lubricants these days are sperm-friendly. So, this shouldn't really have any impact on your chances of getting pregnant.

"Most lubricant now is water-based, without any spermicidal properties - so I can’t imagine why it would hamper conception," confirms Dr Joshi.

5. The foods you eat will impact the sex of your baby.

Just... no. Eating certain foods while trying to fall pregnant will not influence the sex of your baby. Okay?

"There’s no evidence that this is true," confirms Dr Joshi.

So, as with most things in life: never believe everything you read on the Internet. 

When it comes to fertility (or women's health in general), you're always best to hit up your doctor and suss out what's going on. 

Do you have any common fertility myths you'd like to add? Share with us in the comment section below.

Feature image: Getty