This week is known as National Infertility Awareness Week. All too often, we are subjected to a wide-range of misinformation online about infertility, which spreads from the misconceptions, half-truths, anecdotes, and downright myths. Sadly, this distortion of the truth is not just limited to social media; these myths can be spread in other online spaces, and in person. This includes family and friends, social media influencers, and the one we all know as Dr. Google.
Here are the top five myths you may come across regarding infertility.
Anecdotes from family and friends
One of the first people you may turn to for advice when starting the infertility journey is close family or friends. While they may offer great support, they may offer some unsolicited (and maybe downright incorrect) advice or anecdotes. This could include statements like, “Stop stressing about it! Once you stop worrying, it will happen like it did for me,” or “Kyle and I started the keto diet, and we were pregnant in three months.” You can also easily find similar stories on social media spaces, like Facebook groups. While they mean well, your friends and family members are not your doctors, and your life experiences will not be the same as yours.
We all have heard the famous fertility myth of eating oysters! While there is no specific food or diet that will magically boost your chances of conception, a nutritious and well-balanced diet can certainly help support overall health, including reproductive health. However, food choices alone will not reverse an infertility diagnosis. There is no magical food that will promote an increase in sperm production, nor reverse the damage of endometriosis.
There are so many myths surrounding medications, vaccines, and infertility. You may be familiar with a few…
“Taking fertility medications results in multiple births.”
“Fertility medications cause cancer.”
“The covid-19 vaccine causes miscarriages.”
We are not going to pick apart each one of these in the short article, but know that your doctor, who has the experience and knowledge in fertility treatments, will talk with you about your concerns. Reading personal experiences of medications or on Dr. Google does not help you, nor your doctor, get you closer to achieving pregnancy.
Misinformation in the Media
At 48, Hillary Swank recently gave birth to twins. That did not happen without the help of fertility treatments. Regardless, many people may be led to believe that waiting until you are 40, 45, and even 50 to have children is entirely possible. The reality is (for women in particular) fertility declines dramatically after the age of 35, and many have to resort to egg donation to have successful IVF cycles. Other social media influencers may tout specialty teas, lifestyles, or treatments that helped them achieve pregnancy—which in reality was not the route they took.
Do not believe every story in the media you hear—take everything with a grain of salt.
IVF Treatment Success
One of the most harmful myths when it comes to infertility is that you will achieve pregnancy if you pursue IVF. Many hopeful families do pursue IVF, only to be left without any baby, or sometimes even without a single embryo. There is no 100% guarantee with IVF, or any fertility treatment, that you will walk away successful. Some families need to turn to other ways of family building, or decide to be childless.
For many families, when IVF proved unsuccessful, they turned to embryo adoption or donation. This can be a great cost-effective, family building option you may have been looking for! To learn more about embryo adoption or donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.