(HealthNewsDigest.com) - One in six couples struggles to get pregnant, yet a new study released by Fertility & Sterility shows that infertility is widely misunderstood among modern women. One-fifth of respondents were unaware of the effects of aging on fertility. One-third of women did not know that a history of sexually transmitted infections can adversely affect fertility, and 25% did not understand the implications of obesity.
Dr. Steven Bayer of Albany IVF stresses that couples must understand their fertility potential in order to improve and speed up their chances of success. "It's important to know the facts of fertility," says Dr. Bayer, "Understanding the details on how to conceive as well as when you may need assistance can help couples achieve their goal of parenthood more quickly."
Dr. Bayer shares seven common misconceptions he has come across during his medical practice:
It's not a problem for women to get pregnant in their 40s.
Statistics overwhelmingly show that more women are putting off having children until later in life. While women today may look and feel younger, for all women the female reproductive system begins to shut down as women age. A study in Fertility and Sterility reported that 40-year-old women treated for infertility had a 25 percent chance of achieving pregnancy using their own eggs. By age 43 that number dropped to 10 percent, and by 44 it became 1.6 percent. The good news is that older women often find pregnancy success using donor eggs.
Lifestyle doesn't affect fertility.
Lifestyle can affect the ability to have a child. Women who are overweight tend to have a more difficult time conceiving as extra weight may cause ovulatory disorders. Men who are overweight have an increased risk of low sperm count or the absence of sperm. Smoking by either partner also affects fertility. Studies have shown that the average time to successfully conceive naturally increases with the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and smoking has been shown to decrease sperm count. Controlling weight and discontinuing smoking are two easy ways to improve a couple's chance of success.
Infertility is a woman's problem.
Infertility diagnoses are split evenly between men and women, with the remaining 10 percent of diagnoses being unexplained infertility. It's important that both partners be evaluated if infertility is suspected.
If you've had one baby, it won't be hard to conceive again.
Secondary infertility (the inability to conceive a child after previous pregnancy) is slightly more common than primary infertility. According to the National Survey of Family Growth, more than one million couples suffer from secondary infertility. Couples struggling with secondary infertility can often find success through fertility treatment.
It's okay to wait to seek help.
Common advice is that couples try for at least a year to conceive before seeing medical help. While that is reasonable for younger women, those over age 35 should not wait to see a fertility specialist if pregnancy is not achieved within six months. Many fertility problems can be treated easily with medical assistance, but time is an irreversible critical factor of fertility treatment success.
STDs don't affect fertility
Sexually transmitted infections can affect the ability to have children. If STDs go untreated in women, it can lead to an episode of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is a leading cause of infertility. Sexually transmitted disease may also cause infertility in men, as an STD can lead to scarring and blockage of the male reproductive structures.
There's only one day a month that a woman can get pregnant.
While it is true that a human egg is only viable for 12 to 24 hours, a woman can get pregnant anytime from five days prior to ovulation until two days after, for a total of seven days.
Infertility treatment isn't affordable.
Many states mandate insurance carriers that provide pregnancy-related benefits to cover comprehensive infertility diagnosis and treatment, including IVF (in-vitro fertilization). For non-covered services, most clinics offer flexible payment plans.
Through its affiliation with Boston IVF, Albany IVF offers access to some of the nation's top fertility experts, as well as a world-class laboratory and state-of-the-art fertility technologies. Boston IVF's groundbreaking research has led to landmark advancements in fertility treatment, including the first IVF/ICSI baby in New England, the first donor egg pregnancy, and the first birth in Massachusetts to result from a frozen egg. Since 1986, more than 50,000 babies have been born under the expertise of Boston IVF and its affiliates. AlbanyIVF.com
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