Amazing Fallacies About Fertility
Dec 11, 2013 - 8:59:31 PM

( - If you are trying to father a baby - or trying not to - then you have probably heard every conceivable piece of advice about fertility. Some people will tell you that grapefruit juice will do the trick, while others praise the virtues of boxers. Some of these are complete nonsense, while others actually do work. Let's take a look at the misconceptions about conception.

Boxers or briefs?

It is an established scientific fact that high temperatures affect sperm counts. Because of this, men who wanted to father a child were discouraged from wearing briefs. The idea behind this was that briefs hold your testicles too close to your body, and therefore raise their temperature too much. It turns out that this isn't even remotely true - whether you wear boxers or briefs has very little effect on how warm your testicles are. On the other hand, men who spend lots of time in hot tubs can have a problem - and end up deleting themselves from the gene pool.

Ice packs

Staying on the topic of temperature for a second, there is also a common belief that cooling your testicles with an ice pack before sex will make you more fertile - this is basically the flip side of the boxer versus briefs question. Here is some good advice - don't bother. Aside from the fact that it's quite uncomfortable, it won't do anything for your fertility. Cooling your testicles does have a positive effect, but it takes a couple of months to kick in - and keeping an ice pack down there for that length of time just isn't an option.

Wait until ovulation day

This is a well-told tale that couples who are trying to conceive generally pay a lot of attention to. However, doing this can actually reduce the chance of fertilization. That may sound strange, but it's completely true. A recent study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that a woman's ability to conceive ends on the day that she ovulates, so if you get the timing just a little bit wrong, nothing is going to happen. On the other hand, sperm can remain viable in a woman's reproductive tract for up to three days, so the best time to have intercourse is in the two days leading up to ovulation day.

Some positions are more effective

Let's put this one to bed right away - pardon the expression. It's not true. Not one single study has shown that this is the case. No matter what position you use, your sperm will end up in the cervical canal a few seconds after you ejaculate - and from there, the race is on. Furthermore, adopting certain positions after sex to keep the sperm moving in the right direction has no proven effect either.

If you can't conceive the only option is IVF

Again, this isn't true. While IVF can be effective, particularly for older couples, there are often less invasive ways of getting pregnant. For instance, before looking for an egg donor Kansas City fertility specialists may try the drug clomiphene, which causes ovulation. Other options include intra-uterine insemination or lifestyle changes. Particularly in young couples, IVF should be a last resort.

Specific foods increase fertility

Before you or the love of your life go on a diet of grapefruit and oysters, you should know that no specific diet increases fertility. The important thing is to have a balanced diet that provides well-rounded nutrition. Deficiencies in certain vitamins and minerals can cause infertility, but you normally get enough of these if you eat healthily. For example, folic acid deficiencies can lower sperm counts - and increase the change of birth defects - but as long as there is a reasonable amount of green, leafy vegetables in your diet, you will get enough. The same applies to zinc - while you may enjoy raw oysters, you will get enough zinc without them.

If you start to adopt, you will conceive

Couples who are struggling to conceive often hear about cases like this, and consider trying this as well. However, while couples who are adopting do conceive, there is absolutely no correlation between the two. Human beings are great at seeing patterns - it's how we survived being hunted back on the African savannah - but now we don't have lions to spot, we recognize patterns where there are none at all. The myth of adoption and conception is just another example of this. If you start an adoption process, do it because you want to adopt, not because it might make something better happen.


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