Today on the podcast I’m sharing with you 7 of the biggest myths around infertility that I come across all the time. Some of these are myths that you might believe and others are pretty damn obvious (and annoying) myths that others on the outside believe too.
The seven myths are:
Myth #1 – It has to be either/or
So often, I connect with warriors who feel like they don’t want to pursue IVF or other conventional medicine because they are committed to natural choices, OR they feel that by going down the conventional route, it means that they can give up all the lifestyle interventions they’ve made, and this is simply not the case. When you focus on your coping mechanisms and stress management, combined with your diet, you’re working towards amazing egg quality, quicker success and improved outcomes. Lifestyle changes are equally important at all stages of TTC. Trying naturally can also occur alongside conventional treatment. There are lots of steps before jumping into the deep end, and that begins with testing. Conventional medicine can be amazing and help you get to that goal faster. We don’t want to work against it, the goal should be to work with it.
Myth # 2 – That stress is the #1 cause
Infertility is a medical condition with a whole range of factors. Some of the leading causes of infertility in women are PCOS and Endometriosis and the fact of the matter is, no amount of yoga, meditation or journalling will rectify these conditions, although engaging in mind body programs, yoga, meditation etc may dramatically improve symptoms.
Myth #3 – That stress has no impact
BUT, the truth is that stress can have a huge impact on our fertility. From triggering predisposed autoimmune conditions to making our hormones go a little haywire. It can also affect our sleep which is hugely important for our health… and fertility. After years of working with women with infertility, I have now seen the incredible impact that stress management techniques and mindset shifts can have on our journeys, and our TTC success… as backed up by multiple research studies. Managing our emotions and our stress needs to be as important a piece of the pie as diet and conventional medicine. And it will literally change the game for you.
Myth #4 – That if you adopt, you’ll fall pregnant
Or if you go on holiday… Or quit your job, you’ll fall pregnant. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who made some massive change in their lives and then miraculously fell pregnant naturally.
Yep, it happens, but why? I’ll tell you. Because infertility doesn’t necessarily mean you will never fall pregnant. A better term is sub-fertility. And it is defined most often as taking longer than 12 months to fall pregnant. So they may have tried for two years and that was the average amount of time for their situation, or they might have made massive lifestyle changes that changed the game. And it is probably a very low number of people for whom that happens. Certainly not a majority. It is no guarantee.
Myth #5 – That once you commit to going to a clinic, you’ll be whizzed into IVF
You won’t. It will all take longer than you thought (even if you thought it would take a long time)! There will be lots of testing, waiting, more testing, waiting, possibly some lighter medical intervention, waiting…. more waiting… and then more waiting. It will always take longer than you think.
Myth # 6 – That your IUI or IVF cycle will be successful on the first round
I’m sorry. For most, it probably won’t. Success rates for IUI can be as low as 11% and success rates for IVF can vary hugely depending on a range of factors such as whether you have done PGS, your age, how old the embryos are at implant, but as a very general figure, I’d say it averages about 35%. Does that mean you shouldn’t even try? Of course not. Does that mean you shouldn’t get your hopes up? Nope. But it does mean you should commit to the long haul and keep the prize in mind.
Myth #7 – That this all rests on the female’s shoulders
This one gets me. Every time. Men account for 50% of infertility, and even if the cause of infertility is female-factor, guys, you can still work on improving your end of the bargain. PLUS I am a firm believer that there are often multiple causes of infertility in each case, which are often not discovered in tests. Research now shows that sperm also has a large impact on miscarriage rates, so while you are over there quitting coffee, taking the supplements, weekly yin yoga classes, doing acupuncture, swapping a burger bun for lettuce, [insert other hoop to jump through here], give him a kick up the butt to do his bit too. Regardless of what factor infertility you have been diagnosed with, it still takes two (or three! Or an entire team) to tango.