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Baby's Hand


Many, many years ago, people believed in myths or stories without basis. They believed in myths because there is no other source that they can seek for to solve their problems, due to the lack of scientific knowledge at that time.

These myths passed from generation to generation and many are still prevailing. Some people still believe in myths, because it provides them a comfortable solution to their problems. However, myths are unreliable as they are based on hearsay, individual experiences or chance events and do not go through careful statistical analysis or by experimentation. Let us have a look on some of the common myths and misconceptions about infertility.

Myth 1: Some of my friends start to have their own children after adopting a child. It appears that adoption can break the spell of infertile.

Fact : There are various large surveys done on adoption as a remedy for infertility and it was found that it does not work. There are known cases where couples who had prolonged investigation and treatment for infertility without success and subsequently conceive spontaneously when not on treatment.

Myth 2: After many year of trying, I now feel that my infertility problem is pre-destined and cannot be cured.

There is always a solution for infertile couple. As long as they are able to produce an egg and a sperm, pregnancy is possible. ART such as IVF and ICSI can help them to fulfill their wish for a baby. Even the sterile couples who cannot produce egg or sperm can have a baby through egg donation or sperm donation programme.

Myth 3: Retroverted (bend backward) uterus causes infertility and surgery should be done to correct the position.

Retroverted position of the uterus by itself does not cause infertility. 20% of women have retroverted uterus. According to a study in 1952, women with an uncomplicated retroverted uterus who underwent surgical correction had fewer pregnancies compared with women with an uncomplicated retroverted uterus and left alone. Retroverted uterus by itself should not be an indication for surgery.

Myth 4: I'm obese all this while and I'm told that obese women cannot conceive.

Most of them do. Some obese women with hairiness, muscular and irregular menses suffer from polycystic ovarian symptom (PCOS) which is associated with infertility. Most of the time, this condition can be cured by medical treatment alone.

Myth 5: My friends say painful periods cause infertility.

Painful periods do not cause infertility. But the cause of painful periods (such as endometriosis) may result in infertility. In fact, for most female, regular mild pain on the first day usually signal that the cycle is ovulatory (produce egg), which is healthy.

Myth 6: I'm told that my irregular periods is the cause of my infertility.

Women who suffer from irregular period will have longer and fewer menstrual cycles. Thus, the number of their ‘fertile’ times in a year decreased and the chance to get pregnant is reduced. However, this can easily be overcome with medical treatment.

Myth 7: I have never had symptom of pelvic infection and so I cannot have blocked tubes.

Many pelvic infections can exist in women without symptom and they silently cause irreversible damage to the tubes.

Myth 8: Contraceptives make a woman sterile.

There might be temporary impairment of infertility in the first 12 months after stopping oral contraceptives but they are unlikely to impair your fertility. At the end of two year’s stoppage, 80% of the women will have had children and the figure rises to 87% after three years and 89% after four. The rate of return to fertility was identical to women who had used the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) or other methods.

Myth 9: Fertility pills make it easier for all woman to conceive.

Normally, fertility pills can only help those with uncomplicated hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovarian symptom (PCOS); it cannot help those who have tubal or uterine problems. There is no single cure for all infertility. You must identify your cause of infertility before you can decide the best treatment.

Myth 10: If a woman takes fertility drugs, she will have a multiple birth.

It is true that fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg at the same time and this increases the chance of having a multiple pregnancy (4%). The majority of women taking fertility drugs still have singleton pregnancy.

Myth 11: Dilation and curettage (D&C) can help a woman to getting pregnant. (D&C is a procedure to scrape and collect endometrial tissues).

D&C is only an investigative procedure and does not help in getting pregnant.

Myth 12: Chinese believes that repeated D&C will weaken the womb and make her less fertile.

D&C does not injure the womb. During D&C investigation for infertility, only a small strip of the uterine lining is removed to check for normality. The entire uterine lining will be replaced during the next menstrual cycle.

Myth 13: Many folks told me, infertility has nothing to do with the men, it is women's problem.

The causes of infertility can be due to male factor, female factor or both. Among all infertility couples, male factor alone accounts for 30%, female factor alone accounts for another 30% while 30% involves both male and female factors. So, among the infertile couples, 60% of the men have some problems of infertility.

Myth 14: Blood group 'incompatibility' between husband and wife can cause infertility.

There is no relationship between blood group and infertility.

Myth 15: Fertility, sexuality and virility of the men are one and the same.

For men, fertility is depends on the quality of their semen and does not related to sexuality and virility. In other words, no matter how prolonged or how frequent a couple have coitus, as long as the sperm count is low, it is difficult for them to achieve pregnancy. Virile males do not necessary produce good quality semen.

Myth 16: A man can be judged on his fertility by the thickness and volume of his semen.

Semen is mainly made up of seminal fluid (90%). The fertility is depends on sperm count (which can only be assessed by microscopic examination) and does not related to the volume and thickness of semen. However, semen with too low a volume may have reduced the total sperm number.

Myth 17: My sperm count will be the same all the time.

Sperm count will vary and affected by duration of abstinence, recent physical condition and medications.

Myth 18: Many women thought that intercourse at any time will lead to pregnancy.

For human being, a mature egg can only be fertilized by sperm after ovulation. Ovulation of an egg is a self-regulated process and only occurs once at each menstrual cycle on the 14th day. Therefore, intercourse that takes place three days before and one day after ovulation has good chance of getting pregnant.

Myth 19: I cannot get pregnant because the sperm does not enter my womb. Most of the semen leaks out of my vagina after intercourse.

Leaking of semen from vagina after intercourse is common and normal. There is sufficient sperm to reach your womb and Fallopian tubes to fertilize the eggs.

Myth 20: Frequent masturbation and intercourse will deplete the sperm and cause infertility in men.

Too frequent of masturbation or intercourse may reduce low sperm count and semen volume, but it is rarely lead to infertility.

Myth 21: A change of diet or vitamin supplements can promote fertility.

Religion can help to maintain a positive outlook and support you mentally. However, only medicine can help with your physical problems such as blocked tubes or absent sperm.

Myth 22: Just pray and have faith and miracle will happen.

Religion can help to maintain a positive outlook and support you mentally. However, only medicine can help with your physical problems such as blocked tubes or absent sperm.

Myth 23: High-tech is the best solution to any infertility problem.

Not every infertile couple needs the high-tech and advanced ART to get pregnant. About one-third of infertile women will conceive after consulting a good fertility doctor, without the need for pills, surgery or ART. Single clinical procedures and medication would get another one-third pregnant. The last one-third will need more complex investigation and surgery. And only about 10% of infertile couples would require advanced ART.

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