Myth #1 — Infertility is uncommon.
If you are dealing with infertility, it is easy to think you’re all alone dealing with this often heart-wrenching problem. In fact, you aren’t at all alone. Infertility overall affects seven and a half million women between the ages of 15 and 44, and incidents of it are increasing. iOne in five couples in the U.S. and Canada are diagnosed with unexplained infertility every year. That is 20% of the population who are in their child-bearing years where testing has confirmed there are no obvious infections or physical abnormalities preventing pregnancy from occurring. Hearing the words “unexplained infertility” is confusing and disheartening. Infertility is a common and pervasive issue.ii
Myth #2 — The health of the future mom and dad has no bearing on their fertility.
This is a big misconception (no pun intended). Ongoing or chronic health issues can impact absorption of nutrients, the immune system, hormone production, as well as gut health, to name a few. Any of these can impact your ability to get pregnant. Research shows that women with unexplained infertility show significant dietary deficiencies when compared with fertile women.iii The real facts relating to the importance of the man’s health are equally compelling. The entire makeup of a man’s seminal fluid has a great deal to do with sperm quality, as well as the nutrient composition in the maternal blood that nourishes the embryo.iv Furthermore, it also influences the development of a fetus and has long-term consequences to a child’s health. Your overall health is critical to a successful conception and a healthy pregnancy.v
Myth #3 — Infertility is predominantly a female issue and rarely involves the male.
Like so many things in life, women automatically think “it must be me”. Not at all. It’s actually close to half and half. Nearly 30% of infertile couples are impacted solely by male infertilityvi
Overall, 40-50% of infertility issues are due to male infertility, which include issues with low sperm concentration, poor sperm motility (movement), or abnormal sperm development. vii In fact, in 90% of the cases of low sperm count, the cause is abnormally low sperm production. In a normal male, about 200 million sperm will be present in an ejaculation, but only 40 actually make it anywhere close to an egg! So if a man has a low sperm count, the number of his “boys” showing up to pay a visit to the egg is miniscule, if not non-existent.
Understanding the real facts about a health condition, such as unexplained infertility, is important when deciding on a treatment plan, or even resolving feelings of isolation – that sense that no one understands what you’re dealing with. Stay informed. Knowledge is power.
i PEW Research Center, Livingston, G. (2015). “Is U.S. Fertility at an All-time Low?” Retrieved 7/2/15 from www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/02/24 ii “U.S. Fertility Rates Hit Record Low in 2013…” PEW Research Center, last modified February 24, 2015, http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/01/18/is-u-s-fertility-at-an-all-time-low-it-depends/ft_15-02-18_fertility-2/. iii National Institutes of Health (2016). Sage Journals, Reproductive Sciences. “May Underdiagnosed Nutrition Imbalances be Responsible for a Portion of So-Called Unexplained Infertility?” Vol.23, Issue 6, 2016, doi: 10.1177/1933719115620496. iv Caba, J. (2014) Medical Daily.com. “Seminal Fluid, Not Just Sperm, Plays A Role in the Fetus’ Health, Including Obesity and Diabetes”. Retrieved 4-5-17 from www.medicaldaily.com/ v Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (London: Simon & Schuster, 2014) vi Murray, M.D. and Pizzorno, M.D. (Revised 2012). The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 3rd Edition. New York, NY: Atria, Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. vii Naina Kumar and Amit Kant Singh, “Trends of Male Factor Infertility, an Important Cause of Infertility: A review of Literature”, Journal of Reproductive Sciences 8, no 4(2015): 191-196, http://www.jhrsonline.org/article.asp?issn=0974-