Fertility myths

Common fertility myths about trying for a baby, conceiving and infertility answered.
Each menstrual cycle is 28 days in length and you ovulate on day 14

Contrary to popular belief this is not the case at all. A women's cycle can be anywhere between 25 and 36 days in length, with anthing up to 8 days variation between cycles considered 'normal'. Additionally, ovulation can occur anywhere between day 13 and day 18 of the menstrual cycle. Its exact position within the cycle will vary each month so the best way of predicting when you are most likely to be fertile is by monitoring your cervical fluid, cervical position and bbt.

You can only conceive on the day that you ovulate

After an egg has been released by the ovaries it remains viable for between 24 and 48 hours during which time it can be fertilised. Additionally if conditions are favourable sperm can survive for up to 7 days after release. This basically means that there is a window of up to 1 week in which you can fall pregnant after having sex.

Fertility problems are always down to the woman.

Actually in couples that are having trouble conceiving only around 35% of the time does the problem lie with complications in the woman's reproductive system. 35% of the time the problem is with the man, while 20% of the time there is a combined problem and 10% of the time there is no medically specific reason for difficulties conceiving.

You can't get pregnant when you are on your period

Technically this is true as the hormones in your body during menstruation are completely opposite to those influencing your cycle during ovulation. However it is theoretically possible to conceive as a result of having sex during your period. This could occur if you ovulate very early on in your cycle as a sperm has the potential to fertilise an egg for up to 7 days after being released.

Stress causes infertility

Being stressed itself doesn't cause infertility although severe, prolonged stress may influence the hormones in such a way that conception becomes difficult. However, in the vast majority of cases true infertility is a medication condition of the reproductive system, not something that has been 'caused'.

If you've already had a child you'll get pregnant easily.

Secondary infertility is not a widely recognised problem although it does affect many couples. Just because someone has had a child already, unfortunately it doesn't mean that its going to be easy the second time around.

If you adopt you will fall pregnant

This is a very hurtful myth that is completely unsubstantiated and can trivialise the experience of adoption. Research has shown that women who adopt have a very similar pregnancy rate to those who don't.

You can tell exactly when ovulation has occurred by your BBT

Unfortunately the exact time of ovulation can't be determined by BBT alone as this only gives an idea of when you are likely to ovulate. There is a possibility that if you rely on this charting method alone you may be leaving it too late for conception and the released egg may no longer be viable. For this reason it is best to chart cervical mucus and position with bbt as these are more reliable indicators of when you are going to ovulate.

Infertility is only a problem for older women

While it is true that fertility begins to decline with age, it is not only older women who find it difficult to conceive. However, while those under 30 are recommended to try for at least a year before seeking medical help, it is suggested that those over 30 leave less time before seeking assistance. This is particularly the case for women over the age of 35 as fertility does begin to decline significantly after this age.

If you don't fall pregnant straight away you're doing something wrong.

Getting pregnant isn't easy - even during the most fertile time in a women's life is there only a 20 - 25% chance of conceiving each cycle. However, by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, having regular sex throughout the cycle and keeping an eye on your fertility signs you should be able to maximise your chances of conceiving.

Chat or Ask a Question:

If you have a question about this article or something else, visit our friendly forums & ask the AskBaby community.

Chat about fertility myths with our friendly community...

Your Comments:

We'd love to hear your comments on this article...

Login to add your comment:

Email: Password:
Not yet a member? Join thousands of other parents and parents-to-be... Sign Up Now!
Forgot your

I appreciate
by Mgbeojikwe 30th Nov 2011, 9:29am
i am six days late with my period and have been trying since december for a baby. i hope iam.
by diyya 2nd Mar 2009, 9:29am
i am 8 days late with my period im having headaches and my boobs are a bit tender i really hope im pregnant i dont want 2 take a test because i will be disappointed if its negative.
by Brooksy83 15th Jan 2009, 5:34pm
i have been trying to conceive for 6 mnths now with no luck, i was pregnant back in sept 2007 and had a miscarriage :( since then i have had no luck, could there be somethinf wrong with me?
by wannababi 4th Jun 2008, 9:06am
Hi, I have been trying to conceeve for a couple of months now, but to no avail. I thought it would be stright away...silly me. I am 29 and have found that in the last month I had no signs of ovulation,cervical fluid. I am trying not to think about conceving during sex and just enjoing it. however i got my period this morning and feel a bit sorry for myself. just needed to tel someone..thanks
by wanababy 27th May 2008, 8:39am