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The experts listed seven common myths about baby making and reproductive health and the truth behind the misinformation.
Fertility misconception 1: 40 is the new 30
Ninety per cent of a woman’s eggs in her ovaries are depleted by age 30. After age 40, 97 per cent of her eggs are gone and the remaining eggs may not be as healthy, leaving women at risk of miscarriage or genetic abnormalities in their babies.
These are figures most women aren’t aware of. That’s why Dixon suggests that women in the last five years or so of their 20s touch base with their family doctors so they know about their reproductive health and are informed about family planning in the upcoming years.
Fertility misconception 2: It’s easy to get pregnant
Plenty of women put family planning on the backburner because they think it’ll be easy to get pregnant when they’re ready.
“It’s a big shocker for couples who come in for a fertility assessment. They were on contraception and they meet the right person, they’re at the right stage in their careers, and they go to have a baby and it’s hard,” according to Dr. Sony Sierra, a Women’s College Hospital reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist.
There’s a 25 per cent chance of conceiving each month if a couple is under 35 and having sex two to three times a week. Within about 12 months of trying, 85 per cent of couples will go on to conceive, she said.
After 12 months, if it hasn’t happened, the chances of pregnancy start to decrease. By about 18 to 20 months, success rates go from 20 per cent to five per cent.
Fertility misconception 3: It’s always the woman’s fault
The experts agree: they often see women at appointments alone and rarely do their partners join them.
“The traditional notion is the onus is on the woman and it’s still an issue. Men don’t come to initial consultations or they’re reluctant to participate until absolutely necessary,” Klein said.
The reality? Forty to 45 per cent of the time, it’s a male factor that’s contributing to troubles with getting pregnant. They could have a low sperm count, a blockage when they ejaculate, or a history of injuries or surgical procedures that affect their testicles, Dixon said.
Fertility misconception 4: It’s OK to drink caffeine and smoke right up until pregnancy
When should women give up their vices if they’re hoping to have a healthy pregnancy? Turns out, they shouldn’t wait until they’re expectant moms.
The experts tell their clients to give up smoking as soon as they start working with them – the toxins in cigarettes can affect the fluid eggs are basted in. Women who smoke in their 20s, statistically speaking, have lower egg supply in their 30s and 40s compared to their non-smoking peers.
Dixon tells women to limit their caffeine intake to about one small coffee a day – or 40 milligrams. This helps with blood flow to the ovaries and pelvis.
“If you’re going to go through all these measures to conceive, you want to optimize your body for fertility,” she said.
You don’t have to give up alcohol while trying to conceive. Abstaining won’t help or hurt your chances.