Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Infertility Myths

I figured this would be a good follow up to last night's post...infertility myths.  I have gathered these from articles, board posts, and personal experiences.  Here goes!

1. Adopt and You'll Get Pregnant:  Yeah...right.  Sure, this has happened at some point to someone.  BUT, do you actually know the "friend" who this happened to?  I surely don't.  Believe it or not, studies have actually been done on this.  Here's the real truth, only 5% of couples who adopt actually become pregnant afterwards.  That's the same number who become pregnant after terminating fertility treatments...adoption or not!

2. Infertility is the Female's Fault: Not hardly! 35% of all infertility is directly attributed to the male partner!  In 20% of all infertility cases, both partners are involved.  In our personal case, we are both equally 100% incapable of creating a child in the bedroom...even if we were with different spouses.  We like to think that this means we are truly a match made in Heaven!  We also know that neither of us will ever be featured in the "Surprise, who's your Daddy/Mommy Maury Povich Show," or if we are...the test will be negative!

3.  Couples Who Work Hard Enough Eventually Get Pregnant:  Nope!  Adam and I worked REALLY hard at this...and still do (just in other ways).  Of couples labelled infertile, over 60% will go on to have children by some path.  The other 40% won't...period.  Obviously, some couples are more willing to do IVF, use donors and surrogates, etc., and some aren't.  Either way, there will always be failures.  Nothing in the ART world is ever guarenteed!

4.  Infertility is Psychological: Wrong again.  80-90% of all cases of infertility have a defined physical cause.  Us infertiles only become crazy once we get the label!  If therapy and psych drugs got people pregnant, there would be a lot more "experts" in the field!

5.  Infertility is a Sexual Problem: Let's just think a you think that 13 year olds having sex and getting pregnant are "doing it" by the book?  Not hardly!  The majority of infertility problems have nothing to do with bedroom malfunctions (like over 99% of them)!  I can tell you from experience that Viagra isn't used for infertile males to "fix" the problem!  It is however, potentially useful in females for building the endometrial lining (just FYI)!

6.  Infertility is Against God: Now that's a can of worms!  Since this is my blog and my opinion, I'm calling this a myth.  My Reproductive Endocrinologist is a devout, practicing United Methodist (like me).  He prays.  I'm pretty sure God wouldn't have blessed him with this knowledge if he didn't have intentions of him using it!  I am very thankful for medical science, but with 3 failures under my belt...I am well aware that it isn't really in control...God is!

7.  Women are Getting Pregnant in Their's the new 30s:  Well...women are getting pregnant far later than life than was the case in the past.  Some actually even manage to do it with their own eggs.  BUT, for most...the "secret" is donor eggs.  I think donor eggs are wonderful and have opened many doors for women who would otherwise be without options (some even in their 20s-30s)!  I just hate to see people actually think that we are becoming more fertile from an evolutionary standpoint, not hardly!

8.  Infertility is Someone's Fault (Related to Lifestyle):  Well...  I'll be the first to say that Adam and I have scoured every detail of our past to see what might have "caused" us to both be so infertile.  We've never had STDs, been substance abusers, or anything of that sort!  We certainly feel some Christian guilt though...sometimes thinking God is punishing us for something in our past.  But, infertility is a DISEASE...not a religious punishment experience!  People don't spiritually or medically deserve to be infertile...period.  It just happens. 

9.  Relaxation Helps Fertility:  Now, this is my favorite!  Here's my response (to people who push the issue), "We did a 9 day trip to the Happiest Place on Earth and another 9 day trip on a Caribbean Cruise.  We ate too much, drank too much, tanned, enjoyed our favorite pasttimes and spent a significant amount of time in our room...neither time did we come back pregnant.  And trust me, we DID relax!"  My next answer (though less common and very rarely needed) is this, "Relaxing won't fix our issues.  My cervix is anatomically abnormal, IF the sperm could get through it, we don't have enough of them.  Assuming a few did, we still wouldn't have enough to penetrate the egg casing.  And that's assuming there was even an egg in the general vicinity!  Assuming one miracle sperm 'got in' a rare penetratable egg, the egg likely wouldn't divide because it's quality is terrible.  IF it divided, it would only survive until day 3 because the sperm DNA would fail and the embryo would die.  And IF the embryo lived, it would only temporarily implant because my body doens't make enough progesterone to maintain a healthy lining.  After that, if by a miracle we got that far, the placenta would clot causing a miscarriage because I have abnormal clotting studies known to do this. what part in this is relaxing supposed to help me???"  That generally ends the conversation!  (Yes...I have an evil streak!)  I'd like to see anyone with this set of issues relax!  On a happy note, every issue we have is treatable and surmountable in some way, but clearly we have a few!  And by the way, surrogacy won't "fix" our issues...despite what the TV wants you to believe.

I guess those are my infertility myth highlights!  Tomorrow...I'm taking a break from my  blog.  I think this post was enough for two nights!


Anonymous said...

Glad you are posting all of this. So many couples go through infertility, and even if it is for a short time and a successful pregnancy comes, I think no one that has hoped, dreamed, and prayed for that miss period, only to discover it, usually alone in the RR.... it is unbelievably heart breaking. Especially when it occurs month after month, and you then have to flush and go tell your husband. I know that's crass, but it is true. I can't imagine the pain you deal with having endured infertility and still have not had a baby. There are many carrying, sensitive, and very fertile women who need to know these things, and sometimes us "now have a baby" people need reminding.

Thanks for your courage,
Loving and praying,

Anonymous said...

Keep all these (and more). Perhaps a book in your future which will help many couples (hopefully with a happy ending). Your medical knowledge, spiritual and love as a couple can offer much to others.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Jenn! I also cast my vote for a book! Your thoughts would have most certainly helped me through the rough times. You have a talent with words and are the perfect person to open up the world's eyes to infertility!!

Anonymous said...

Think of you both..Love to you and Adam. JI

MaryMargaret said...

Fabulous info- I wish more people understood these things. I can't even fathom how many times I've heard each of those myths and each time, it gets a bit harder to bite my tongue. It's so easy for fertile people to buy into this crap, and I just wonder how their opinions would change if they found themselves in our shoes.