When you are trying to get pregnant…and trying, and trying and trying… you’re bound to hear more than your fair share of well-meaning advice regarding how to successfully conceive. Unfortunately, people seem to think that you’ve never Googled before, been to a doctor, or learned everything you possibly can about anything related to the human reproductive system – male and female – as well as all the factors that make it possible for these two systems to cooperate and make a baby already!!!!! Good Grief!
In many cases, by the time our clients have finally made an appointment, they are almost as well-versed as we are as to the hows and whys of pregnancy and assisted reproductive technology. In the meantime, they have to hear an infinite list of asinine advice and suggestions from family, friends and – of course – perfect strangers.
Here is some of the worst advice we’ve ever heard about fertility and how to “fix” it.
1. Just relax and it will happen in time! Yeah. Well, that would be nice wouldn’t it? Just relax and your baby will arrive in nine months. Sure, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence regarding couples who finally adopted and wound up conceiving soon thereafter, but these stories are not really all that common. New studies show that women with high stress levels do have a harder time conceiving, but stress is rarely the only reason a couple isn’t getting pregnant. The best reason to relax is for your own health and peace of mind as you work with your doctors to get pregnant. However, we do have some suggestions if you want to get away and relax to escape all the irritating people who are giving you bad advice…
2. Honey, give it up. After 35, you’re clock is done ticking… Ouch! That one hurts. While it’s true that it gets harder with every year after age 35, assisted reproductive technology has come a long way and fertility is completely possible into your 40s.
3. Don’t have too much sex or he won’t have any sperm left. Oops! There’s someone who missed a line or two in their Anatomy and Physiology 101 book. In fact, unless diagnosed otherwise, most men produce an ample supply of sperm on a regular basis. If you have sex every day, each of your partner’s successive ejaculations may have a lower sperm count than if he abstains from ejaculating for a few days. HOWEVER – sperm live for up to five days in your vagina – so it all evens out. We advise couples trying to get pregnant to have sex regularly leading up to ovulation so there are millions of sperm waiting to meet the egg when she makes her appearance.
4. Use a turkey baster to get the sperm higher up “there.” Perhaps the “there” was the first clue that this “advisor” isn’t completely up to date on how babies are made. Your turkey baster won’t get the sperm any higher than an erect penis with a healthy sperm count. If you are interested in getting the sperm closer than Mother Nature designed, you will need to consult with a fertility specialist who can transfer it all the way into your uterus (Intrauterine Insemination or IUI) for you. Save your turkey baster for Thanksgiving.
5. Get drunk and do it! Hm. Well, perhaps this particular piece of advice is more specifically related to #1 – Just Relax! The problem is that there is a significant amount of research out there about the effects of alcohol and fertility, not to mention healthy fetal development, so when you’re trying to conceive, it’s always better to eat well and abstain from chemicals – both internally and in your environment – as much as possible.
6. Just accept that it just isn’t your time. Well, if it’s not your time, why is it time for the teenage mother of three you just saw on that reality TV show? It’s not anybody’s “time” to get pregnant. Pregnancy is a combination of genetics, environmental factors, timing, anatomical and medical conditions and chance. If your religious or spiritual beliefs align with the idea that it is or isn’t your time, that’s fine too but it won’t help you feel better while you’re desperate to conceive. We are fans of the “Time Theory,” in the sense that if you have tried to get pregnant for 12 months or more (six months if you’re in your 30s) we recommend meeting with a fertility specialist sooner rather than later. We can find out if something is anatomically or medically the cause for your infertility, giving you a longer period of time to explore your options.
What is some of the worst and/or most frustrating advice you’ve received regarding infertility? We’d love to hear your vents in the RRC comment box below.
Image source: freedigitalphotos.net/David Castillo Dominici