Myths

It's easy for most women to get pregnant.

While it's true that many woman conceive without difficulty, more than five million people of childbearing age in the United States - or one in every 10 couples - have problems with infertility. Certain health conditions and factors can affect a woman's ability to conceive. For instance, a healthy 30-year-old woman has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month; while by age 40, her chances drop to about 5 percent a month. But infertility can affect women of any age and background..

Men don't have infertility problems.

Though it's commonly believed that infertility is a "female problem", nothing is further from the truth. About 35% of all infertility cases treated in the United States are due to female problems. But the other 35% can be traced to male problems while the other 20% to both partners and final 10% due to unknown causes.

Infertility is a psychological not physical problem.

Well-meaning friends and relatives may suggest that "infertility is all in your head" or "if you'd stop worrying so much, you'd get pregnant". But in reality, infertility is a disease of the reproductive system and not a psychological disorder. In fact, most of the causes identified in the vast number of infertile couples are physical. So while relaxing, going on a vacation, or finding positive ways to de-stress can improve your overall well-being, these lifestyle changes might not solve your infertility problems.

Couples who "work" hard enough at having a baby will eventually get pregnant.

New methods of diagnosing and treating infertility have improved many couples' chances of having a baby. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), more than half of all couples who pursue treatment will achieve a successful pregnancy. On the other hand, it's important to remember that infertility is a medical disease and that problems sometimes remain untreatable - no matter how hard the couple "works" at solving them.

Once a couple adopts a child, the woman will become pregnant.

This particular myth is not only painful for infertile couples to hear, but it's also not true. First of all, it suggests that adoption is simply a means to an end (a pregnancy), and not, in and of itself, a valid and wonderful way to form a family. Secondly, only about 5% of couples who do adopt later become pregnant. This success rate is the same for couples who don't adopt and become pregnant without further treatment.

Husbands often leave their wives if they're infertile.

Infertility is a medical condition that affects both men and women equally. In fact, in about 40% of cases, the male partner is either the sole or contributing cause of infertility. While many couples do find the process of infertility testing and treatment rigorous and stressful, they do get through it together. Many partners also find new and deeper ways to relate to each other and discover that their relationship has become even stronger.

Infertile couples will never be happy or fulfilled.

Being unable to conceive a much-wanted child can fill a couple with sadness, grief, anger, despair, and even a sense of personal failure. While it's normal for infertile couples to experience a range of powerful emotions, most people do move through this life crisis successfully. For some couples, moving on means letting go of their initial dreams of having a baby. Other couples decide to adopt. But in either case, couples do learn that there is life after infertility and find myriad ways to fulfill themselves with or without children.

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