Fertility Myths Debunked
Do you think you can put botox in your ovaries? You know, plump up those older eggs to regain their youthfulness?
Nope, sorry. Not possible.
Or have you thought that because you can take a youthful looking selfie, and feel great, that your fertility must be picture perfect too?
Nope, sorry. Good selfies don’t equal good fertility.
But you’re not dumb. You know that. But there may be some tricky information out there that you’re not entirely sure if it’s true.
Fertility isn’t surface level. It’s not skin-deep. It’s biology. It’s what’s deep inside, and yet impacted by what’s outside of you too. Suffice to say, it can be complex.
Which is why I’m here. I’m certainly a fertility doctor with over a decade of training and advanced degrees that have gotten me to the point where I finally know how to make a baby. And I want to share what I know with all of you.
One very important component of what I do is myth busting. (No, really! I’m serious). There are so many myths circulating around about what will make someone fertile or less fertile. What and how fertility is measured. What matters, and what doesn’t.
Consider me your egg whisperer. Busting fertility myths, shedding light on the truth, and telling it to you straight so you can be informed to make the best choices for you.
And yet, the myths are all around us. It’s a treacherous sea we all must navigate daily.
I want you to know you can trust me for the truth. Not everything you read on the internet is true. I’ll be doing my best on my blog to capture fertility news and fact check it for accuracy. If you ever have a question about something you’ve read in the news and wonder if it’s true?—?reach out to me. I’m serious.
Just recently there was a headline indicating Motrin negatively impacted men’s sperm, but upon further review of the study there were no sperm analyzed for the report. That is not science. That is fear mongering. It needs to stop, and it begins with this post!
Okay, let’s get down to some myth busting. And remember, you can catch all of this in video from here: Egg Whisperer Show: Fertility Myths Debunked
Myth #1 Birth Control Pills Cause Infertility
They definitely don’t.
They mask infertility and women who don’t understand how birth control pills work think that the “regular” cycles they get on the pill imply something about fertility health but they don’t.
Imagine you’re the girl who started birth control at age 16, then stopped at 32 because you got married. Now you don’t have anymore periods because you’ve run out of eggs.
The myths you’ll hear are:
A) The pills caused my infertility.
B) The pills have to leave my system to be fertile.
C) The pills need to be out of my system as long as I was on them.
All of these are misleading and simply incorrect. What really happens is that the pill can mask the fact that your egg supply is largely depleted.
If you aren’t on the pill you will notice cycle irregularities that hopefully will signal to you to see a fertility doctor if you’re preparing for pregnancy.
I don’t want sadness, confusion, or anger about your fertility and birth control usage in your lifetime.
Instead, I want you to get a fertility health check up when you go in for your birth control pill refill! Find out before it’s too late. Don’t let the pill trick you.
Let’s get birth control pill makers to pay for a fertility health check up before you choose their brand! Wishful thinking? Maybe, but you can pay for a fertility health check-up yourself every 6 months for what you may pay for a month of fitness classes.
Myth #2: Egg Freezing is Insurance
Insurance means when your house burns down, you’ll have claim money to have it rebuilt. That type of guarantee for protection is not something you’ll ever find in human biology.
Right now science can’t stop the biological clock. This is an egg freezing calculator every woman should know about who wants to freeze her eggs
Want to freeze your eggs, but clueless about where to start? Request an egg freezing party wherever you live to learn more with girlfriends in a comfortable setting.
Myth#3: My mom got pregnant easily and so should I
Your mom’s fertility is based on variants she inherited from her parents, just like yours. Keep in mind women today are getting pregnant decades later than their parents or grandparents because of how society is changing. Last year more women in their 30s than 20s got pregnant for the first time EVER!
So if you’re struggling, don’t assume you’re genetically like your mom. Certainly ask about fertility issues in the family, but make sure you don’t just rely on their history to predict your fertility factors.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, get your fertility levels checked.Just do it.
Myth#4: If I got pregnant easily with baby #1, then I shouldn’t have any issues getting pregnant again.
I know so many people who just love being moms and they wanted to spend years with their first born before having a second.
But before you know it, they’re now 40 and didn’t realize that most women can’t get pregnant over 40. So be sure to do a fertility check in after baby #1.
See what you can do to protect your fertility: whether it’s freezing eggs, embryos or sperm. If you did IUI for baby #1, freeze that good sperm because over time, the sperm quality could decline. And if you want more than 2 kids after baby #1, talk to a fertility doc to learn more about what strategy you should take to achieve this.
My pro tip: Get your fertility levels checked at your postpartum doctor’s visit. Or come to me and do a panel that we’ll discuss in person or over video chat.
This is a perfect time to do a fertility health check up. It seems like every woman gets the “what do you want to take for birth control talk” but we aren’t giving women the important information which is to understand and discuss your fertility for planning for baby #2 (if that’s something you want).
Myth#5: Having a miscarriage means a healthy pregnancy is around the corner.
It’s true, a miscarriage doesn’t mean a higher chance of miscarriage with the next pregnancy. But if you haven’t had a fertility health check up, anyone with a miscarriage should. Talk to a fertility specialist about your family size goals and your age and what you could be doing to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy (if anything at all!) and then start trying at home. But I’ve sadly had patients told they should wait years before talking with a fertility specialist. They’ve been told their miscarriage is a signal that they will have a healthy pregnancy. When they don’t they sometimes have spent years of their life with no success, meanwhile their precious fertility has been running out. Reminder: age (time) is the #1 enemy of fertility.
Lesson to depart: If you’ve had a miscarriage work with a fertility doctor or your doctor to understand why. Never assume the cause. Work to understand as much as you can. Knowledge is power, and will help you take appropriate action!
Myth#6: Previous paternity = current fertility
If you are a guy reading this, hello! If you are a woman that feels so inclined to pass this onto your man, please do. This is an important message. Just because a man has gotten a woman pregnant when he was young it does not mean his sperm are healthy today.
Get a simple sperm health check up. Consider going an extra step and getting an advanced DNA test about your sperm. This will mean you don’t waste time on the unknown and can zero in on exactly what you need to be doing to improve your chances to conceive.
Myth #7: Having Regular periods means your Fallopian tubes are open and healthy
Nope. Your eggs are microscopic. They don’t come out during your period (that’s not the egg bleeding out). And no, it isn’t the “egg” in the egg white cervical mucous…..that’s not the egg. The microscopic egg we ovulate may or may not even make it into your fallopian tube and your uterus would never know it and neither would your tubes.
Having healthy regular menstrual cycles just isn’t a sign of tubal health.
15% of women need fertility care (IVF was invented for this) and the way to find out is through either: HSG, laparoscopy or Femvue. All are ways to see if your tubes are open but your periods have nothing to do with it.
Myth#8: IVF makes you run out of eggs sooner, go into Menopause faster, and cause Cancer
No, no, and hell no!
Fertility doctors are egg rescuers. Your body sends enough of the FSH signal to your ovaries every month so you ovulate one egg but every woman has a different potential that she can ovulate.
When we give patients fertility meds whether it’s for IVF or not, we’re just rescuing eggs by sending a stronger FSH signal to the ovary.
Those eggs would have gone bye-bye no matter what you did or didn’t do. So send out a life vest if you need to and don’t be worried that you’re causing yourself an earlier menopause.
The 16 eggs you just had retrieved doesn’t take 16 months off of your fertile life! This is one of the biggest myths ever. And certainly with all the celebrities blaming IVF on their cancers like Giulana Rancic, you would actually think that’s a thing!
For any patient who is worried I definitely recommend a cancer carrier screen. Whether you’re worried or have a family history do the test. There are many reasons why it’s good to do it.
The greatest harm that I try to prepare patients from is the emotional turmoil of fertility treatments that don’t work. The struggle is real , the depression and feelings can take the strongest people down. So make sure you have a team, a therapist you can call on, a fertility doc and team you can talk to. Consider working with fruitful fertility and find a fertility friend if you don’t already have one.
Myth#9: You have to take shots to do IVF
I have patients who have told me that the #1 reason they don’t want to do IVF is because they heard that they have to take shots. Well guess what, you can do an IVF cycle without a single shot. It’s called mini-IVF or natural cycle IVF!
The only thing you’d still have to do is an egg retrieval and most centers do that under anesthesia so you wont’ feel a thing. So whatever your fears are, share them with your doctor and we can work with around them.
I’ve done many cycles without doing a single pelvic ultrasound (all abdominal) no blood draws, no injections. You can even do an embryo transfer asleep if you have severe pelvic pain issues. So remember, ask more questions, find a doctor that isn’t wearing ear muffs, and that will give you the best chance for success on your terms. I call it personalized fertility medicine.
Myth#10: IVF Makes Healthier Babies
My goodness, if you look at some of the companies trying to make money off of patients desperate for a baby, you’d think that no one should ever have sex for a baby and we should all do IVF to make sure we have a super healthy baby.
I’m a fertility doctor and I will tell you this is just plain wrong.
You never know when you’re going to ovulate the golden egg. I’ve certainly had patients not have a viable embryo from IVF to get pregnant either naturally the very next cycle or with treatments like IUI, using less technology.
So don’t believe the hype. IVF can only work with the DNA that you are bringing into the IVF lab. We can’t make smarter healthier babies. We can certainly try but holding off on trying at home because you want to wait to do IVF for a stronger baby isn’t the right way to think about it.
We are only medical doctors, not medical deities.
Make sure you know your fertility diagnosis so you’re not basing your fertility treatment plans off of fertility myths: only the facts. I wish IVF worked the first time. I hear patients say all the time: I’m going to try everything first and then if that doesn’t work, I’ll do IVF.
The thing is this: you need to know your fertility diagnosis so you can see what you can do to make things as strong as possible at home before you move forward with your treatment. If IVF is indicated as necessary because of blocked tubes, then go to IVF. But learn about your embryo quality and what your chances are because depending on your age, it may take more than one attempt. Only your doctor will know what your chances are based on your age and the full panel of fertility tests they will run on you.
Myth #11: Your tipped uterus is making it hard for you to conceive
One of the first things I do for a patient when I see them for the first time is make sure that I look for fibroids, polyps, and any signs of endometriosis. It’s very common for me to let a patient know the contour of her uterus and one of the first things I sometimes am told after that is: “Yes, that’s why my ObGyn said I’m not getting pregnant”
Well, that’s a huge fertility myth. We all have a tilt in our uterus and that tilt is basically how we are made and does NOT affect our fertility chances. The only time the tilt would affect our chances is if the tilt is because of severe endometriosis distorting your anatomy and that scar tissue that forms could be a sign of endometriosis which is a fertility threatening condition. So rather than relying on the advice of your tilted uterus affecting your chances, if you’re having a hard time conceiving, get all your fertility factors reviewed: sperm eggs and tubes! Find out everything you need to know so you can make plans for pregnancy
Myth#12: Getting pregnant is as easy as taking a trip to Hawaii or even better “Just adopting”
These stories make my blood boil. When patients tell me how many of their well intentioned friends and neighbors and family share the “you should go to hawaii advice” or “just adopt” advice as if that’s a fertility fact, it makes me darn upset.
The only thing you should do if you’re talking to someone who is having fertility issues is LISTEN. But offering up advice like just adopt or take a trip advice is just not helpful. Oh, I love it when patients adopt and I help them do it! But not one of them has gone on to get pregnant naturally. Same with going to Hawaii. If taking a trip was the best way to get pregnant, heck, I’d head to Hawaii and set up a clinic there! I still may do that 🙂 But not because I think that taking a vacation improves fertility. Sorry, it just doesn’t.
Myth#13: Acupuncture Increases Egg Count
I love the acupuncturists I work with. I work WITH them and they treat my patients in conjunction with the treatments we do. I design calendars and they use my calendars to design the best acupuncture treatment plans ever. Can acupuncture increase egg counts and improve egg quality? The answer is this: it certainly can’t hurt but when a patient is told she needs to do acupuncture for 6 months before IVF when she’s over 40 to increase egg counts….that’s perpetuating a fertility myth.
Myth#14: Your fertility is skin deep
We certainly are what we eat and food has many medicinal benefits that many people don’t even know about! But in a field of medicine where we have such little control, sometimes people control their food intake in an extreme way and I have to tell you: it’s a myth!
Going gluten, sugar, carb, or dairy-free isn’t going to help you get pregnant. For some patients certainly, being gluten free if for example you have celiac disease or going Paleo if you have PCOS, those types of dietary changes are helpful.
Unless you have a specific medical condition to change your diet, I’d suggest working with a fertility nutritionist to evaluate your diet before you trust the fertility myths you are reading online.
Don’t give yourself fertility internet psychosis. A cup of coffee a day and alcohol on occasion won’t hurt your eggs! Enjoy life to the max and be your best self every day. Find joy in the journey (yes, I have this on a plaque at my front desk) and let yourself be.
Remember, if you feel like you’re seeing a doctor that is wearing fertility ear muffs and therefore not listening to your symptoms, worries or concerns, I can help guide and direct you to a doctor that I know and trust in your area that can help you. Get an egg whisperer consult today and find out if you have learned everything you need to learn as you’re planning for pregnancy.