Center for Assisted Reproduction

13 myths about infertility, debunked by doctors

By CARE Fertility on August 24, 2020

Despite all the information we now have at our fingertips thanks to Google, many myths still prevail about infertility. At CARE Fertility, we believe that informed patients have better outcomes. So today, we’re fighting misinformation with facts and dispelling the rumors we often hear about infertility:

1. Infertility is a female problem. If the male partner can gain an erection, he’s fertile.

“Absolutely no truth to this. Male and female factors are equally to blame for infertility, with one-third of infertility cases being caused by a male factor, one-third being a female factor, and one-third being some combination of the two. Sometimes everything’s in working order on both sides, but we still can’t identify a specific cause, which is called unexplained infertility. Men can absolutely bring sperm issues to the table that lead to a difficulty getting pregnant, and libido, virility and erectile function do not necessarily indicate fertility.” — Dr. Kevin Doody

Read: Male infertility, explained

2. Having more sex can decrease sperm count and actually worsen fertility issues for men.

“This can’t be further from the truth. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says that one of the things that patients can do to enhance natural fertility is have more frequent intercourse. It makes sense.” — Dr. Kathy Doody


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3. Eating the core of a pineapple helps increase your odds of implantation after an embryo transfer.

“We love what the pineapple has come to stand for among women undergoing infertility treatments: stand tall, wear a crown and be sweet on the inside. Scientifically speaking, there’s no evidence that consuming pineapple has any impact on implantation. But it’s like athletes wearing their lucky pair of socks. A good luck charm always makes someone smile.  We love to see transfer day shirts and socks!” — Dr. Kathy Doody


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4. Laying with your feet up or hips raised after sex will increase the odds of conception.

“You can certainly put your feet up if you want to, but there’s no scientific evidence that this does anything to help you get pregnant. Sperm are incredibly good at the one thing they’re designed to do: find and fertilize an egg. Healthy swimmers will find a way to do that regardless of whether you’re lying down, standing up, or any other position you choose!” — Dr. Kathy Doody


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5. If it’s him and not you, it’s so much easier to fix.

“Some cases of infertility are certainly more difficult and complex than other cases. No one type of infertility is “easier” to treat. Infertility happens to a couple and their unique story is how treatment is planned. Be strong and think positive thoughts!” — Dr. Robin Thomas

6. Taking Mucinex when ovulating can thin your cervical mucus, making it more “friendly” to sperm.

“Taking Mucinex when you have a cold may loosen congestion in your chest and help you feel better, but there is no evidence it helps to improve your cervical mucus.” — Dr. Anna Nackley

7. Fertility treatments are more likely to cause multiple pregnancies and could make you the next Octomom.

“The majority of the embryo transfers we are doing are single embryo transfers, so most of our patients are having singleton births.” — Dr. Robin Thomas


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8. If you’ve been trying for a long time, you should just give up and accept that you’ll need to adopt.

“The length of time a couple has experienced infertility has no bearing on whether or not they’ll eventually be able to conceive with the right help. Even couples with very severe cases who need multiple rounds of IVF - and were on the brink of losing hope - can still be successful in the end. We’ve seen it happen many times.” — Dr. Kathy Doody

9. Everyone who undergoes IVF gets pregnant.

“Unfortunately, though the success rates are very high, not every couple is able to conceive via in vitro fertilization, and not all are able to carry the pregnancy safely to term. Sometimes it takes multiple rounds of IVF. We encourage patients to not lose hope, but we know how difficult this journey can be, both emotionally and financially.” — Dr. Kathy Doody

Read: What to do if an IVF cycle doesn’t work

10. Fertility treatments fail for highly scientific reasons only.

“One of the most common reasons that fertility treatments fail is emotional burnout. Fertility itself is stressful—the treatments can be stressful, especially if it doesn’t work or if you get pregnant and then you miscarry. That can be such a traumatic experience for individuals or couples, and that's really why we recommend Dr. McBride, a psychologist who deals specifically with these types of issues and is able to help many couples who are experiencing difficulty.” — Dr. Kevin Doody

Read: How to cope with infertility: advice from the doctors of CARE Fertility

11. There’s usually not much men can do about their own infertility.

“Certainly a man's sperm quality will reflect his overall health, so doing things to keep yourself healthy in general—eating right, getting enough sleep, avoiding cigarettes and excessive alcohol—will reflect themselves in better sperm. But remember, that's not always the case. Some people can be in very good overall health and still have poor sperm numbers or poor sperm quality.” — Dr. Kevin Doody

12. If you have a successful IVF cycle, you can often later become pregnant the “natural” way.

“It would be wonderful if that were true. Having a successful pregnancy following IVF, or any other fertility treatment, does not increase the chance of "natural" conception after delivery.  Spontaneous pregnancies can occur in some patients up to 1% per month, so absolutely keep practicing! Frequently couples who have gone through IVF have embryos frozen they can use in the future. The age of the woman at the time of the egg retrieval predicts success rate with future transfers even five or ten years later.  Rarely can we say we aren't getting any older!" — Dr. Anna Nackley

Read: What to expect during an IVF cycle

13. You're stressing about it too much. Just relax and you'll get pregnant.

“Often times, people are told, ‘Ah, just relax. You’ll have a baby; it’ll happen naturally.’ No truth to that. There’s no evidence that stress or relaxation improves the odds of getting pregnant. This myth needs to disappear! It implies that a patient is contributing to her infertility by feeling stressed or anxious. New flash - it is normal to experience those feelings! The infertility journey can have twists and turns. At CARE Fertility we firmly believe information is power! Write down your questions, go in, and discuss your story with your physician. Every patient brings a unique story with them, and there’s not a one-size-fits-all for infertility treatment.” — Dr. Kathy Doody

Read: What to expect at your first appointment at CARE Fertility

If you’re ready to get the facts about your own fertility, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors by calling 817-540-1157.


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