Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Myths We Have Been Told About Fertility

birth control pills don't prevent pregnancy after you stop taking them
Birth control pills don't affect your ability to get pregnant once you stop taking them.
Image: Shutterstock
There are so many forms of birth control that are accessible to both men and women these days, making it easier than ever to take control of your body and family planning. Whether you plan not to have children or can someday envision picking out baby names and nursery decorations, you should have the power and knowledge to make informed decisions about reproduction.   

The problem is… there are a lot of rumors and flat-out wrong information all over the Internet that it can be difficult to know where to find reliable information about fertility and family planning. Here are some common myths we have all been told about fertility:

One myth is that the longer you are on birth control pills, the longer it will take you to get pregnant when you stop. The fact of the matter is that it does not take time for your fertility to kick in—you can get pregnant within days of when you stop using birth control. One exception to this rule is the Depo birth control shot, which can take up to 10 months to work its way out of your system.

Another myth is that skipping safe sex a few times will not influence your future fertility. However, having unprotected sex when you are young can be a threat to your future ability to have a baby. One of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in the U.S., chlamydia can be asymptomatic (meaning you don’t know you are infected), and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease if you don’t get treatment. Pelvic inflammatory disease can scar the fallopian tubes, potentially creating a problem if you want to get pregnant later in life. To protect against chlamydia and other STIs, it's a good idea to always use protection such as condoms—even if you are on the pill.

You may have heard this phrase a few times by now: “You can always freeze your eggs.” It’s been in the news a lot lately, and the technology is, in fact, evolving—but it’s far from perfect. Success rates tend to be lower than 50% and most studies agree that success highly correlates with the age of the woman when she froze her eggs (the younger the better).

In addition, freezing your eggs is expensive—on average costing $10,000 for the initial freezing and treatment, with a yearly fee to store the eggs and a thawing fee of about $5,000 should you decide to use the eggs.  That’s a lot of money for a small chance of success. Essentially, freezing your eggs is an option, but it’s an involved and expensive process that should not be treated like a fix-all.

Be sure to visit Resolve, the National Infertility Association, for even more myths about fertility debunked.