Know infertility

Infertility is a complex and often misunderstood condition, which is why there so much confusion surrounding it. Here are seven common myths to watch out for -- and help dispel.

Myth 1:

It is easy for most women to get pregnant. While it is true that many women conceive without difficulty some have problems with infertility. Certain health conditions and factors, such as age, can affect a woman ability to conceive. For instance, a healthy 30-year-old woman has about a 20 percent chance of getting pregnant each month; while by age 40, her chances drop to about 5 percent a month. But infertility can affect women of any age, and from any background.

Myth 2:

Men do not have infertility problems. Though it is commonly believed that infertility is a women problem, nothing is further from the truth. About 35 percent of all infertility is due to a female problem. But 35 percent (an equal number!) can be traced to a male problem, 20 percent to a problem in both partners, and 10 percent to unknown causes.

Myth 3:

Infertility is a psychological not physical problem. Well-meaning friends and relatives may suggest infertility is all in your head or if you had stop worrying so much, you had get pregnant. But in reality, infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system and not a psychological disorder. In fact, one or more physical causes are identified in the vast number of infertile couples. So while relaxing, going on vacation, or finding positive ways to destress can improve your overall well-being, these lifestyle changes will not solve your infertility problems.

Myth 4:

Couples who work hard enough at having a baby will eventually get pregnant. New methods of diagnosing and treating infertility have improved many couples chances of having a baby. On the other hand, it is important to remember that infertility is a medical disease and that problems sometimes remain untreatable -- no matter how hard a couple works at solving them.

Myth 5:

Once a couple adopts a child, the woman will become pregnant. This particular myth is not only painful for infertile couples to hear, but it is also untrue. First of all, it suggests that adoption is simply a means to an end (a pregnancy), and not, in and of itself, a valid and wonderful way to form a family. Secondly, only about 5 percent of couples who do adopt later become pregnant. This success rate is the same for couples who do not adopt and become pregnant without further treatment.

Myth 6:

Husbands often leave their wives if they are infertile. As stated earlier, infertility is a medical condition that affects both men and women equally. In fact, about 40 percent of the time, the male partner is either the sole or contributing cause of infertility. While many couples do find the process of infertility testing and treatment rigorous, stressful, and intrusive , they do get through it -- together. Many partners also find new and deeper ways of relating to each other and discover that their marriage has become even stronger.

Myth 7:

Infertile couples will never be happy or fulfilled. Being unable to conceive a much-wanted child (or carry a pregnancy to term) can fill a couple with sadness, grief, anger, despair, and even a sense of personal failure. While it is normal for infertile couples to experience a range of powerful emotions, most people do move through this life crisis successfully and gradually put it into better perspective. For some couples, moving on means letting go of their initial dreams of having a baby. Other couples decide to adopt. But in either case, couples do learn that there is life after infertility and find myriad ways to fulfill themselves with or without children.

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