Fertility is a subject that raises many questions and preconceived ideas. Between grandmother's advice, friends' testimonials and information gleaned from the internet, it is sometimes difficult to find your way around. Here are 10 common misconceptions about fertility, as well as explanations to better understand this complex and delicate reality.
Misconception #1: You just need to stop your contraception to get pregnant quickly
This statement is incorrect because every woman is different and age has a major impact on fertility. According to studies, a woman aged 25 has approximately a 25% chance of becoming pregnant each menstrual cycle, compared to less than 5% after the age of 40. In addition, certain contraceptives such as the hormonal IUD may cause a slower return to fertility after stopping them.
Misconception #2: Diet has no impact on fertility
On the contrary, a balanced, nutrient-rich diet can promote fertility in both men and women. For example, sufficient intake of zinc and vitamin E can improve sperm quality in men, while folic acid is essential for the formation of the fetus in pregnant women.
Misconception #3: Stress and mood disorders have no influence on fertility
In reality, chronic stress or a depressive state can affect the production of hormones involved in reproduction, such as LH (luteinizing hormone) or FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone). Therefore, stress management and possible treatment of psychological disorders are important to promote conception.
Misconception #4: Food supplements systematically improve fertility
Although certain food supplements such as coenzyme Q10, vitamin E or folic acid can have a positive effect on fertility in certain situations, their use must be supervised by a health professional. Inappropriate self-medication can lead to nutritional imbalances or adverse interactions with other medications.
Misconception #5: You cannot get pregnant during your period
This preconceived idea is false because there is significant variability between menstrual cycles from one woman to another. So, although ovulation usually occurs in the middle of the cycle, it can also occur earlier or later, including during your period. Furthermore, sperm can survive for several days in the female genital tract, which increases the period of potential fertility.
Misconception #6: Smoking and alcohol have no harmful effect on fertility
Smoking and fertility
Numerous studies have shown that smoking can impair sperm quality in men and ovarian reserve in women, as well as increase the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. Stopping smoking is therefore strongly recommended to promote natural conception and the health of the unborn child.
Alcohol and fertility
As for alcohol consumption, it can also have deleterious effects on male and female fertility, in particular by disrupting hormonal balance and creating oxidative stress within reproductive cells. Moderation, or even total abstinence from alcohol, is recommended if you want to have a child.
Misconception #7: Sexual position influences the chances of conception
There is no solid scientific evidence supporting this preconceived idea. Indeed, if certain positions can theoretically facilitate the deposition of sperm near the cervix, sperm are perfectly capable of moving up along the female genital tract whatever the position adopted during intercourse.
Misconception #8: Infertility is essentially a female problem
This belief is unfounded because fertility problems affect both men and women. According to studies, approximately 40% of infertility cases are directly linked to male factors (sperm quality, for example) and 40% to female factors (hormonal or anatomical abnormalities). The remaining 20% correspond to mixed or unexplained causes of infertility.
Misconception #9: Pollution has no impact on sperm quality
On the contrary, it has been shown that exposure to environmental pollutants such as fine particles, heavy metals or endocrine disruptors can alter the number and mobility of sperm, as well as their ability to pass through cervical mucus in women. Taking these factors into account is important to preserve sperm quality and promote conception.
Misconception #10: Making love every day increases your chances of getting pregnant
While having regular sex (at least 2 to 3 times a week) is recommended to maximize the chances of conception, it is not necessary to have sex every day. Indeed, sperm can survive for several days in the female genital tract, which makes it possible to cover the ovulation period without excessively multiplying intercourse.
What science says about fertility
Science, through extensive research and clinical studies, provides a more accurate, evidence-based understanding of fertility and conception.
The role of hormones : Science has demonstrated the crucial importance of hormones in regulating the menstrual cycle and fertility. Hormonal imbalances can affect ovulation and therefore fertility.
The impact of lifestyle : Studies have shown that factors such as diet, exercise, and body weight can influence fertility. Healthy living is often associated with better fertility.
Sperm quality : Science has also shed light the importance of sperm quality and quantity for male fertility. Factors such as age, health, and lifestyle can affect sperm health.
Fertility treatments : Advances in the field of reproductive medicine have made it possible to develop various treatments to help couples having difficulty conceiving. These treatments range from medication to stimulate ovulation to more advanced techniques such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).