We busted 5 fertility myths below – hopefully you’ll become more positive about your chances after this!
Myth 3 – IVF does not work with older women
The National fertility treatment guidelines in the UK justify not providing NHS IVF treatment to women aged over 42 because of low success rates. For example, the live birth rate following IVF in women over the age of 44 is only 2%.
Yet these “success” rates are based on IVF treatment with the woman’s own eggs. Women under 35 using their own eggs for IVF have about a 40% chance of having a baby, but for women over 42 that chance drops to 4.5%. However, using donor eggs changes the picture entirely: the chances of having a baby through IVF increases to 49.6% when fresh donor eggs are used, for women of any childbearing age.
This is because, for women who receive donor eggs or embryos, the chances of a live birth are based on the donor’s age, not on that of the recipient. Where the egg donor is young, older women have the same sort of chances of “success” with IVF as younger women. The recipient is simply providing the oven, with which to cook the younger eggs.
Myth 4 – You are less fertile after being on the pill for a long period of time
You may have friends or family members warn you about not taking the pill too long, because it may delay you getting pregnant once you’re off of it, but, luckily, that’s a myth.
Women are afraid that when they come off the pill they’ll have trouble getting pregnant, but that’s not the case. However, age may be the actual reason conceiving is harder, not the pill.
In fact, taking oral contraceptives can result in a short-term delay in achieving pregnancy of 2 to 6 months when a woman stops taking the pill, compared to other contraceptive use, according to a 2013 Danish study published in the journal Human Reproduction.
The study included 3,727 women, aged 18 to 40 years. The participants were asked to complete a questionnaire on a monthly basis for 12 months to determine if pregnancy occurred.
The researchers also found that women who had used birth control pills for longer rather than shorter time periods were more likely to get pregnant.
Similarly, long-term use had no negative effect on the probability of getting pregnant.
Myth 5 – Only women are responsible for problems with conceiving
When couples experience infertility, there’s often a misconception that the problem is the woman’s. But according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility issues are split evenly between males and females. Each group is responsible for 30 percent of infertility, and the rest is attributable to a combination of both male and female factors or unexplained reasons.
Conception issues are not just in women’s hands or due to their reproductive systems alone, as the case may be. Although men do not have the same “advanced maternal age” situation that women do at 35 years old+, men can still have reproductive issues.
For example, the older men get, the higher the chances that they have a lower sperm count and/or lower testosterone levels.
As you can see, there are several fertility myths out there that you should stop believing. If you’re unsure or need clarification, we encourage you to speak to your doctor or a fertility specialist about your personal journey.