5 Fertility Myths, Busted

5-fertility-myths-busted-
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

Do you feel like your fertility education might have let you down a little bit? Were you totally unprepared for the complex world of conceiving before you started trying for a baby? You’re not alone. Fertility is shrouded in myths and misinformation, but the more we learn the more in control of our fertility journey we can feel. Here we’re setting the record straight on 5 common fertility myths and lay out the facts.

Myth 1: Most people get pregnant easily

This is definitely something that our school sex-education left us thinking! On a mission to keep teen pregnancy at bay, our education managed to convince many young people that getting pregnant is scarily simple. Whilst, of course, some people do manage to get pregnant easily, the truth is that it’s more common for things to take a while. One study found that only 30% of couples having unprotected sex get pregnant within the first month of trying. For most people, it can take up to a year of trying, even if there are no official fertility issues. It’s also important to remember that 1 in 7 couples will struggle to conceive. Infertility and fertility issues are things that were rarely talked about on the Sex Ed syllabus when we were at school. This not only can make people panic when they don’t get pregnant straight away, but it also makes those struggling with their fertility feel alone, isolated or embarrassed, as if there is something wrong with them, which trust us – there isn’t.

Myth 2: You can get pregnant any time you have sex

Similarly to the myth that getting pregnant is easy, most of us also weren’t taught that you can only really get pregnant for a few days each month. This time is known as the fertile window, and occurs just before, during and after ovulation. This is generally around the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle, but this can sometimes move, especially if the cycle isn’t regular.

It’s interesting how many couples who are trying to conceive are unaware of the fertile window, and this can have a massive impact on their chances of getting pregnant! You can find more about the fertile window here. One of the most accurate and easy ways to find out if you are ovulating is to do an at-home test. We’ve partnered with Mira to deliver a seriously accurate ovulation test. You can learn more about the Mira ovulation tracker here.

Myth 3: Age has no impact on male fertility

This might not be a myth that you are directly taught in schools, but we’re sure you’ve grown up well aware that a woman’s fertility declines with age. Whilst this is true – the truth is that it’s the same for guys, although it’s not quite as clear cut.

Women have a finite number of eggs, and this number goes down each year. By around 35, most studies indicate that female fertility is declining. For men, as they get older their testosterone production slows down and DNA Fragmentation of sperm cells goes up. Both of these factors can not only have an impact on how long it takes you to get pregnant – but the health of the embryo and baby if and when you do conceive. It’s thought that older Dads are more likely to have kids with health concerns, including autism.

You can read more about age and male fertility here.

Myth 4: Certain positions will help you get pregnant – or even make a boy or a girl

Now, this might be more of an old wives tale than a school sex ed mishap – but it’s certainly one of the fertility myths we want to bust. All fertility experts will tell you that the position you have sex in has no bearing on your chances of conceiving, and certainly can’t help to determine the gender of your baby.

Many people think that doing it in a way that sends the sperm up towards the womb (with your partner upside down for example) will help you get pregnant faster, But sperm are pretty speedy characters and can be found in the female reproductive tract seconds after ejaculating.

Trying to conceive can be stressful enough as it is without pulling a muscle trying to bend yourself into some obscure sexual position! When it comes to sexual positions, just focus on doing what’s right – and fun- for you and your partner and remember to enjoy it!

Myth 5: The size of your penis is linked to fertility

Penis-related playground taunts might have you thinking that the size of your willy has any impact on your masculinity or fertility. The truth is that generally speaking your penis size does not correlate to your chances of conceiving. Whilst having a very small penis and testicles could be a sign of low testosterone – or even conditions like Klinefelter Syndrome – this is not always the case. Just like when it comes to pleasuring a partner – size doesn’t really matter. However, some measurements could impact your fertility – and that’s your sperm health parameters. Whilst chat at school might focus on the size of what’s between your legs, the truth is that it’s what’s going on inside your testicles that will really determine how easy it is for you to make a baby. Unfortunately, there are rarely any outward signs of low sperm quality, which is why it’s important to get proactive and get tested.

Our At-home sperm test makes getting to know your sperm health easier than ever – you can have the results on your smartphone within 15 minutes. Learn more about our at-home sperm test here.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

More to explore

Endometriosis and fertility
Fertility

Guide to Endometriosis and Fertility

Endometriosis is a condition that impacts 1 in 10 women and people with periods, but it is so often misdiagnosed and misunderstood. Whilst many women with endometriosis can conceive naturally, there is a chance the condition could impact a fertility

Read More »
cervical mucus and fertility window
Fertility

Cervical Mucus and the Fertility Window

What’s the deal with cervical mucus? If you’re a guy, cervical mucus might not be something you are familiar with, but it could actually be the magic ingredient that helps you on your fertility journey. Here we’ll bring you up

Read More »

Wearing tight pants and underwear

Studies show that men who wear looser underwear have higher sperm concentration and total sperm count compared to men who wear tighter underwear. So, lose the tight clothes and wear something loose to give your testicles some air.

CONCLUSION: learn more about how heat can affect sperm quality here.

Stress

Besides higher mortality rate and various diseases, stress is associated with low sperm quality. Stress is known to be associated with lower testosterone levels and oxidative stress with both playing an essential role in producing and maintaining healthy sperm cells.

CONCLUSION: If you feel stressed, we recommend you get some help so you can have a balanced mental health. For a stress management guide, download the ExSeed app for free and start your personalized action plan today.

Physical activity

Scientific studies show that men who are physically active have better semen parameters than men who are inactive. Fertility specialists also state that regular physical activity has beneficial impact on sperm fertility parameters and such a lifestyle can enhance the fertility status of men.

Prioritizing exercise can help improve your overall health and result in healthy, fast swimming sperm cells that have good chances of fertilizing an egg.

CONCLUSION: Try incorporating exercise in your weekly schedule to you ensure exercising at least twice weekly. We recommend a combination of cardio training and strength exercise. Read more about exercise and male fertility on our blog.

Nutrition

Fast Food
Processed foods damage the health of sperm-producing cells and cause oxidative stress, which lead to poorer sperm quality. Heavy consumption of junk food (every week) can increase the likelihood of infertility since men who consume vast amounts of unhealthy food are at risk of having poor sperm quality. Besides harming your fertility, junk food enlarges your waistline, harms your cardiovascular system, kidneys, and more.

Vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables can increase your sperm concentration and motility. It’s important that you consume a healthy diet filled with antioxidants and that you eat vegetables every day. Foods such as apricots and red bell peppers are high in vitamin A, which improves male fertility by nurturing healthier sperm. Men who are deficient in this vitamin tend to have slow and sluggish sperm.

Sugary snacks/beverages: several times a week Excessive consumption of high sugar items can lead to oxidative stress, which negatively impacts testosterone levels and sperm motility. Sugary snacks and beverages are also highly associated with obesity and low fertility.
CONCLUSION: To boost sperm quality, stay away from fast food, processed food, and sugary snacks or beverages. You need to implement a healthy prudent diet filled with necessary superfoods needed for good sperm production. Check out our guide to Male Fertility Superfoods. For personalized guidance and support on how you can start improving your sperm health, check out the Bootcamp.

Heat

Direct heat can inhibit optimal sperm production and cause Sperm DNA damage. Sperm cells like environments that are a couple of degrees lower than body temperature. Avoid overheating from warm blankets, seat warmers, heat from your laptop, hot showers, and saunas.

Cigarette smoking

The exposure to tobacco smoke has significant negative effects on semen quality. The damage of cigarettes and nicotine of course depends on how many cigarettes you smoke per day and for how long, but even low usage (up to 10 cigarettes / day) can inhibit healthy sperm production.  

CONCLUSION: Stay as far away from cigarette smoking as possible if you care about your general health and your fertility. Read more here.

Cell phone

When you have your cell phone in your front pocket, your testicles are exposed to electromagnetic radiation, which studies have shown to damage the sperm cells. Put your phone in the back pocket of your pants or in your jacket pocket.

BMI

There is a clear association between obesity and reduced sperm quality. At least part of the reason for this is that obese men may have abnormal reproductive hormonal profiles, which can impair sperm production and lead to infertility. 

A BMI higher than 30 can lead to several processes in the body (overheating, increase in oxidative stress in the testes, sperm DNA damage, erectile dysfunction) that can have a negative impact on male fertility. This can result in problems when trying to conceive.  

CONCLUSION: BMI is one of the risk factors that influence semen quality and, for example, sperm motility.  

Alcohol

A beer or glass of wine now and then do not really harm sperm quality. But excess alcohol drinking (more than 20 units per week) can reduce the production of normally formed sperm needed for a successful pregnancy.

CONCLUSION: If you want to stay safe, stay under 14 units of alcohol per week. For more information on how alcohol can affect male fertility, take a look at our blog: “Alcohol and Sperm Quality”.

Age

Studies show that women younger than 35 and men younger than 40 have a better chance of getting pregnant. Men can produce sperm cells almost through their entire life, but the sperm cell DNA is more fragile and prone to damage after the age of 40.

As men age, their testes tend to get smaller and softer resulting in a decline in sperm quality and production. These changes are partly because of an age-related decrease in testosterone level, which plays a very important role in sperm

production. Higher male age (>40 years) is not only associated with a decline in sperm production but also with increased sperm DNA fragmentation and worsened morphology (shape) and motility (movement). These negative effects make the sperm cells less qualified for egg fertilization.

CONCLUSION: with an age under 40, you shouldn’t have to worry much about age as a factor in itself. However, studies have shown a slow decline after the age of 30-35 years

and if you are above 40 years of age, your sperm quality can be affected due to increased sperm DNA damage resulting in a decrease of sperm motility and concentration. Remember that you cannot evaluate the quality of a sperm sample by just looking at it – this requires a sperm analysis.