Fertility myths & their prevalence in our lives
Whenever there is an emotional side to a problem, rumours and myths become a yardstick to go by. Science, and in particular medicine are forced to take several steps back, as myths assume a more realistic role.
Fertility is one such topic, which many believe to be true as the myths become a reality thanks to the older generation. The negative mindset sets in faster and logic are abandoned.
The fertility doctors or experts gently erase this from the couple’s minds and then lay out the treatment process which would rule out any false beliefs.
Found below are the myths that have found its way into mainstream life and especially fertility among men and women.
The ‘Myth Busters ‘ can also be found alongside solutions to the real problem.
Seven Myths regarding Male Fertility
Generally, women are associated with infertility, and men are excused. But with the advancement in medical science, men have also been found contributing to infertility to a large extent.
Myth 1: Holding back Sperm for a week leads to the best potent sperm quality.
If the sperm is to be held back for a week then it does mean that the male should not engage in intercourse or masturbation. This myth is busted as found below:
The testes are responsible for sperm production and the Epididymis acts as the storehouse. It’s advisable to ejaculate the stored sperms once in 3 days as they are continuously exposed to free radicals, toxins, and inconsistent temperatures.
The delayed ejaculation does not increase its potency but only increases dead sperm.
If a person engages in frequent masturbation, the potency of the sperm does not go down but the count does. Either way one should remember it is one good quality sperm that can do the magic. As per a study, fresh sperm does the job than stored ones.
Sperms would indeed survive in full potency inside the Fallopian tube and this would stand in good stead for the women.
Myth 2: If a man’s sperm count’ slow, it stays low!
It’s truly a myth that a man can cease producing sperms.
Yes, the count may go down but the quality does not suffer to a large extent. The treatment is not complicated at all as blockages are remediable.
The other way to improve on it is to alter the present lifestyle which involves weight reduction, dropping smoking habits, and cut back on alcohol.
There is no evidence however that a completely fit man would produce sperms of the best quality too! The fact is that men even at the age of 70 can invoke pregnancy in a woman. On the other hand, the healthiest male-only produces 14% high-quality sperm.
Myth 3: Diet & weight have no bearing on fertility!
This is indeed a wrong notion.
The male has to produce more Testosterone and Androgen which would elevate sperm production and quality. Obesity or being overweight causes the reverse.
Estrogen which is the female sex hormones rises in production in the male serving no purpose. This results in low libido too. The overall effect leads to infertility.
A diet that is vegan and in that a nutritious one does get rid of infertility than one filled with high fat or calories. Meat and cheese are examples of high-fat food.
Body Mass Index (BMI) does give you the right numbers on what weight you need to be in. The exercise schedule and diet can be tuned towards achieving the perfect BMI, thereby increasing fertility to the highest level.
Myth 4: Cigarette smoking does not affect fertility!
This is indeed a false belief, as smokers want to continue their habit and searching for lame excuses. The effect of cigarette smoking can be best explained in points.
• Organic and Inorganic molecules provide nutrition and ‘security’ to sperm cells. Chemicals in Cigarettes affect the count and protection provided thus resulting in high ‘death’ of sperms.
• Studies have shown that smokers produce a low quality of sperms.
• Smoking alters the size and shape of good quality sperm. With poor shapes, the sperm becomes a poor swimmer inside the Fallopian tube and ultimately fails to reach the egg to fertilize it.
• Smoking leads to erectile dysfunction.
Myth 5: Normal habits do not affect sperm count and quality.
In this fast world, we develop certain habits, which from the outset look safe and clean. But such habits do contribute to infertility as explained below:
The sperm in the sacs are affected by temperature. Heat is what one should avoid but involuntary gestures do affect the sperm.
• After using the cell phone, one tends to place it in the front pocket. The cell phone emissions are continuous and raise the heat which affects to sac and decreases the chances of sperm remaining alive.
• We use laptops by placing them on our laps unaware that the heat generated by it is affecting the genitals.
• An elongated hot bath in a tub and a prolonged bicycle ride does affect the fertility of the sperm.
The solutions are easy. Keep the cell phone in your back pocket, and ensure that the laptop fan is working. Curtail Bicycle rides and a hot bath in the tub.
Myth 6: Other Health Issues do not affect fertility.
This is yet another myth that is false.
Diabetes or liver cirrhosis is a chronic disease. They cause damage to the nerves and retrograde ejaculation. These lead to abnormal ejaculation.
Semen is prevented from entering the bladder which closes itself when ejaculation takes place. The failure of this is known as retrograde ejaculation where the muscles fail to close and the semen flows into the bladder.
Thus chronic conditions do affect the Fertility process and its best to consult a physician. Even though this cannot be cured, the intensity can be brought down to a certain extent which would have a direct impact on fertility.
Myth 7: Male Fertility can be effected only by hard drugs.
This is not true at all.
Hard drugs not only affect fertility but also harm the whole human body.
This does not mean prescription drugs like antibiotics are safe. They might help cure a health issue but may have certain side effects that harm fertility.
It is best practice to consult physicians on all the side effects it may cause and with specific emphasis on fertility. Male fertility can be affected by medicinal abuse too.
The use of marijuana and exposure to lead or mercury affects the sperm’s quality and quantity.
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Seven Myths regarding Female Fertility
The burden of shouldering the entire mantle has now undergone some relief as men’s fertility too play a role in the woman conceiving. The burden has lightened but not completely, as women also need to keep a check on their fertility.
Found below are the Myths that surround the fertility of women:
Myth 1: Women can conceive if they are fit and healthy and age is not a barrier.
The fact is, that age does matter however fit you are.
Studies suggest that 20% of women are found to have infertility issues and these women are under the age of 30, which is considered the right age to get pregnant.
If the same woman ages up to 40, her chances are far slimmer since the egg production in the ovaries consistently falls through the years. These results in lesser chances of conceiving however healthy you are.
This can be termed as natural Infertility but it does not rule out chances of getting pregnant completely. Good results are thereafter persistent effort.
Myth 2: Do contraceptive birth pills lead to infertility?
This is the most popular rumour surrounding contraceptive pills. The pill even after consumption over a long time does not have any negative impact on the reproduction system. The argument which is laid down by women is that there are definite signs of infertility since the menstrual cycle is delayed or the ovulation process does not happen on time.
Therefore they find it convenient to blame the contraceptive pill. On the other hand, the additional hormone which is generated, by the birth control pills, masks the delay in the menstrual cycle and overlays the true problems.
Even stress factors lead to menstrual issues but these are conveniently covered by such contraceptive pills.
Myth 3: Delays and irregular menstrual cycle are a sign of infertility.
This is true to a certain extent only. The happening of the menstrual cycle for the month cannot be predicted since it might be delayed due to an unhealthy lifestyle, irregular sleep pattern, lack of exercise routine and stress levels.
Such occurrences lead to hormonal imbalances which delay the menstrual cycle. Due to the delay in the monthly periods, it is very difficult to determine when ovulation takes place.
Ovulation generally takes place exactly two weeks before the next cycle starts. But since the periods are irregular, one can only guess the timing of the ovulation and indulge in sexual intercourse.
The ideal scenario would be to correct the hormonal imbalances and regulate the monthly cycle to the maximum extent possible and engage in sex through the window of fertility.
Myth 4: Just relax! Problems would be solved.
There is no doubt that when the couple relaxes and attempt to remove any stress in their mind. The following moments of engagement in intercourse result better. In many cases, the problem of infertility is not psychological but a medical condition only.
Infertility does not occur just because you did not relax; or how much ever you may think positive? or you step out for a vacation? or engage in meditation? Infertility does not disappear this way. The problem is that couples try too hard and are not happy if the results are not positive.
Therefore infertility is not about hard work. It is the cure that you might have to seek once you understand, it is a medical condition.
Relaxation is part of a lifestyle change but that is not the only factor. An exercise schedule with a good diet also helps you to become more fertile.
Myth 5: PCOS affected cannot conceive.
This is a big fallacy. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a problem related to ovulation and there is no doubt about that. But then PCOS can be controlled to a large extent by developing good habits and living a healthy life.
Once the woman is healthier, the chances of her getting pregnant and the delivery of a normal baby along with it are bright. The common complaint among women with PCOS is that they do not conceive easily.
This is true because PCOS does affect the reproduction process but it is a matter of time only before the woman gets pregnant.
Myth 6: Smoking is hazardous only when pregnant and not before.
This myth is widely believed to be true.
Smoking spoils the chances of a woman conceiving since the chemicals spoil the eggs and make it infertile. This leads to the formation of Cysts which ultimately leads to total infertility.
Quitting the habit increases fertility and if not, quitting it while pregnant would dismiss the possibility of prenatal birth.
Myth 7: Heredity and miscarriage go hand in hand.
This myth does not hold water at all.
There could have been a trail of miscarriages in the family, but it is not a hard and fast rule you would also undergo the same. Studies reveal that genetics plays only a 5 % role in such cases.
The only factor that may be a point in case is that, if your parent had been a victim of Chromosomal abnormality, chances of miscarriage increase.
From the detailed passage above, it can be very clearly ascertained that myths regarding Fertility are at best rumours handed over by generations and medical science has squashed these myths.
Certain myths are developed and popularized to shift the mantle of the responsibility away from them and escape treatment.
The solutions are also there to get rid of the myths and conceive them.
We can conclude that fertility is linked generally to lifestyle and the diet you maintain.
There are a few reasons why infertility strikes despite a healthy lifestyle.A