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When people are having difficulty conceiving, they often resort to seeking advice from a host of sources for more information. Sometimes these provide credible information and sometimes they just result in confusion and misconception. Below, I have provided the facts about some of the top myths and misconceptions I often hear.

That every woman ovulates on day 14 of her cycle – MYTH

The reality is that ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary) is individual and dependent on how long the menstrual cycle is, and it will not always be on day 14. For example, a women may not ovulate until day 21 if she has a 35 day cycle.

Timing of ovulation is critical to successfully conceiving. The general rule is ovulation usually occurs about two weeks before your period starts. Count back 14 days from the beginning of your period; this would be your approximate day of ovulation. Ovulation tracking testing kits bought over the counter are very good, and the simplest to use are the urine testing ones. You could also try using a Fertility Awareness Calendar.

Fertility is a female issue – MYTH

When a couple is trying to conceive, the male’s reproductive health is as important as the females and also contributes towards optimising the chances of a healthy baby. Studies have shown that 30 per cent of infertility is due to the male factor, 30 per cent due to the female factor, 30 per cent due to a combined male/female factor and up to 10 per cent remains unexplained.

That age doesn’t really impact fertility – MYTH

A woman’s age is a significant factor and often the most important indicator of a chance of conceiving.

Conception rates for normal healthy couples are, at best, 20-25 per cent per menstrual cycle. Once a woman reaches the age of 35, her fertility begins to decline. By age 40, it is estimated that her conception rate is in the range of 8-10 per cent per month and at age 43, the pregnancy rate is thought to be as low as 1-3 per cent per month. A man’s fertility also declines from the age of 38. Age remains important even if you are fit and healthy.

When you see a fertility specialist you have to have IVF – MYTH

There are a range of options that can assist with fertility issues that don’t involve IVF. Our fertility specialists will discuss the options available to you based on your circumstances. Our statistics show that only around 30 per cent of patients who see our fertility specialists actually go on to IVF treatment. Often IVF is not required as there are a number of simpler fertility treatment options that can substantially improve a person’s chances of pregnancy. These include looking at lifestyle factors or treatment options such as ovulation induction, Intra-uterine insemination (IUI), and surgery for conditions like endometriosis.

That sperm is better quality if you abstain from sex until ovulation is occurring – MYTH

Interestingly, infrequent ejaculation results in sperm becoming sluggish and tending to have more chance of DNA damage. Men need to ejaculate regularly to keep the sperm healthy and motile. For best results when trying to conceive, men should try to ejaculate every two days, especially when your partner is ovulating.

If you have conceived your first baby easily then the second will be easy too – MYTH

Problems falling pregnant with your second child when first time around it was relatively easy is often called ‘secondary infertility’. While there are few official statistics on the prevalence of secondary infertility in Australia, it is thought that it affects 1 in 10 couples. Sometimes an answer cannot be found for the cause of a couple’s secondary infertility, however, it is thought that the following are the most common factors affecting success: maternal age; blocked fallopian tubes; irregular menstrual cycles; poor sperm function; and lifestyle factors.

SHARE your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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  • Good article – however sometimes you have to also investigate the father. I had a child prior to marrying my second husband – we couldn’t conceive, but he couldn’t blame me and eventually told me he had had mumps at age 26 and thought he was the problem. I think it was more that he was anxious as eventually we had 3 wonderful children. It is amazing how often children are conceived when you are on holidays and relaxed.

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  • A very interesting and informative article.

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  • Fertility is different for everyone. My husband had low sperm motility and we were told we’d never have children. We were able to retrieve some viable sperm and tried IVF for 2 1/2 years before they looked at my fertility. After a laparoscopy on my final egg/final attempt before giving up, I fell pregnant and have a teen son. I say never give up. Explore all options. It’s harder to get pregnant than you think. But live in hope.

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  • Great info for everyone to know :)

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  • I kind of knew most of these. I nearly thought we would have to gave fertility treatment when it took us 18 months to conceive baby number one

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  • We are currently seeking fertility treatment (letrozole and injections) but people often assume Ivf when you say fertility specialist. My biggest issue is trying to explain that I’m just getting the opportunity to ovulate monthly like any other woman and I’m not actually getting an increased chance of conceiving vs a woman with a regular cycle.

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  • My brother was conceived only 3 or 4 days before her normal period cycle.
    She still had a very light period for 1 day and that was unusual for her.

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  • so true, alot of people believe some of these to be gospel – it’s great that your addressing this and making people aware

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  • There are people who think IVF will fix everything and is guaranteed to work. This is another myth that should be busted.

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  • Thanks for your article,an interesting read!

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  • Yes, there are going so much myths around. If only more people would get informed before passing their ideas to others would be prevent lots of hurt.

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  • Yes these certainly are myths.
    A greatv explanation

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  • Thanks for the article and for exploding the myths. Some of these myths can cause distress and unhappiness.

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