Fertility Myths Women's Health

5 Fertility Myths Debunked

Are you TTC—trying to conceive? Whether you are hoping to get pregnant or waiting for the right time, it’s important for women to understand their fertility. Get the facts as we debunk five common fertility myths.

Myth 1:  A woman’s fertility starts to decline at age 35.

Women are most fertile during their 20s; however, their fertility generally starts to decrease during their late 20s and early 30s and more rapidly after age 35. A healthy 30-year-old woman has a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant within one month of trying, but those chances drop to 5 percent for a 40-year-old woman. Most women are unable to get pregnant when they reach their mid-40s, a few years before menopause. 

Myth 2:  Women can’t get pregnant on their periods. 

While a woman is most likely to conceive by having intercourse a few days before and during ovulation, it is still possible to get pregnant during her period. Sperm can survive in the uterus up to five days, and if you have sex near the end of your period, there’s a possibility that sperm can fertilize an egg after it is released during ovulation. Overall, this occurrence is rare, but it’s more likely to occur in women with shorter menstruation cycles.

Myth 3:  Women are most fertile on the 14th day of their cycles.

Not all women have the same cycle length. It’s a fact that women are most fertile the days leading up to and on the day of ovulation when the ovary releases an egg. Ovulation can occur anytime between 11 and 21 days after the first of a woman’s last period. Having sex within the timeframe of the five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation gives the best chance of getting pregnant. Some studies suggest that engaging in intercourse even when you are not fertile can increase your chances to conceive when you have sex around the time of ovulation.

Myth 4:  On average, couples conceive within three months of trying.

The ability to conceive varies among couples. Many factors affect conception, including age and fertility health of both the man and woman. About 59 percent of couples trying to conceive will be successful within three months, and about 85 percent will be successful within a year of trying. If you are unable to get pregnant within a year, it would be wise to make an appointment with a fertility specialist. If you are older than 35, you may want to consider making an appointment sooner.

Myth #5:  An egg can be fertilized for up to two days after its release.

Timing is everything. While sperm can survive for up to five days in a woman’s uterus, an egg can only be fertilized up to 12 to 24 hours after its release from the ovary. In order to get pregnant, live sperm must be in the uterus within the short time frame of a woman’s ovulation.

If you are trying to conceive, make an appointment with one of our OB/GYNs to receive medical advice on preparing for pregnancy and to determine when you are most fertile. If you are struggling with fertility issues, make an appointment with Caritas Women’s Care in Sugar Land to take advantage of their advanced reproductive health management techniques that are morally acceptable to all faiths. Learn more about the VIP—Very Important Pregnancy—experience at our Family Birthing Centers, where our commitment to give each mother a happy birth day is demonstrated through our approach to patient care and the atmosphere of our facilities.

 

Sources:

The Menstrual Cycle: An Overview

Sex May Boost Female Immune System to Aid Fertility

American Pregnancy Association - Determining Your Fertility Window

American Pregnancy Association - Ovulation Frequently Asked Questions

Your Fertility

American Pregnancy Association - Can You Get Pregnant On Your Period?

American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Baby Center

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