Common fertility myths debunked

22 April 2013

Trying to get pregnant can be a frustrating process for couples. Separating the facts from the myths can be equally difficult. What will help, and what won’t? Here are some of the most common fertility myths, debunked.

Good health increases chance of conception

Although exercise and a nutritional diet are always encouraged, they do not necessarily promote fertility. If your genetic makeup predisposes you to infertility, maintaining a healthy weight will not negate that. In the same way, younger women, who are generally regarded as being in better shape, are still at risk for fertility problems. If you are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant, have a fertility test done to pinpoint the source of the problem.

Fertility declines at age 35

Although fertility does decline throughout a woman’s life, age 35 isn’t the cut-off point for conception. The earlier women try for children, the more success they are likely to have - don’t consider 35 as your arbitrary deadline. Your biological clock is already ticking.

Women experience more fertility problems than men

Infertility problems are attributed equally to both men and women. About 40 per cent of fertility issues are experienced by men. Another 40 per cent are had by women. The remaining 20 per cent of infertility problems could be attributed to both parties.

Daily sex is necessary to conceive

Having sex on a daily basis won’t necessarily increase chances of conception. Intercourse every other day during ovulation is adequate, as sperm can survive in the reproductive tract for about two days.

Stress reduces chances of conception

Extreme stress can suppress hormones enough to delay ovulation, but it will not hinder conception. However, if you find yourself too stressed to engage in intercourse, then it will affect your fertility in a very direct way.

The missionary position is most effective

There is no scientific evidence to back this up. It is merely an anecdotal myth based entirely on speculation. No matter which position you try, sperm is chemically designed to travel directly to the egg.

The pill reduces fertility

Hormones contained within the pill remain in a woman’s body for 24 hours. Once a woman stops taking the pill, she will return to fertility quickly. That being said, the pill might mask fertility problems for a time. Ovulation problems that arise following discontinued use of birth control drugs may not necessarily be caused by the pill at all.

Ovulation begins on day 14 of your menstrual cycle

This is only true for women with a perfect 28 day cycle. In reality, menstrual cycles range from 21 to 35 days long. For most women, ovulation varies from month to month.

Infertility is untreatable

Don’t think for a second that infertility cannot be treated, or is too expensive to treat. If you have not successfully conceived after a year of trying, you should seek medical advice. There are a number of affordable treatments available, including in vitro fertilisation, which has been found to have a high success rate, as well as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection and intrauterine insemination. Discuss your options in detail with a doctor to determine which is right for you.

Posted by Edward Bartel

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy above is ©Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

Find a treatment, test or scan available at:


Find a consultant

Use one or more of the options below to search for a consultant and link through to view their Spire profile.


Let us help you

fill out this form and we will get back to you:

Please select a hospital

We can call you

Please enter your details below and we will call you back.

What is the aim of your enquiry?

Please select a hospital

If we are unable to reach you by phone, please include your email address so that we can get in touch...



© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)