India is a land of varied beliefs. Medicine in general is having lots of superstitions, especially fertility is one aspect, not only in India across globe, laden with myths. Tribes in Zimbabwe traditionally drink a cocktail of baboon urine and bear to help couples conceive. Japan is known for its electronics, technology, innovations and modern architecture but when it comes to fertility things are more pompous. “ Honen- Sai” is being celebrated for almost 1500 years. During this festival of love, a long wooden penis is carried around their city to ensure the fertility of their residents.
Absurd practises, crazy rituals and terrifying old wives tales can only give inconvenience, emotional and social burden but not pregnancy.
I therefore want to clear up five of the biggest myths.
Media headlines like:
These news misguide people and make them think that becoming a mother for the first time in your mid 40’s is no problem at all. In short, many females woman overestimate their own fertility. In fact fertility is severely limited at the age of 35 years onwards and the pregnancy complications increase at the same time.
Tick tock tick tock – biological Clock is ticking only for women. Terrible thought! What may be true in theory is very different from actual life. As people get older fertility decreases in both sexes. Nevertheless there is a serious difference between men and women. Women receive a clear cut signal like irregular cycles, menopause while there is no such signal in a male. Instead in male it’s a gradual process. Theoretically, men are still able to reproduce well in old age. In practise fertility usually starts declining in men after the age of 40. Fewer sperms are formed and their quality also decreases. In older men, potency problems are also not uncommon.
Honestly, how many ladies ever plan, check when will they be ovulating next and set up a schedule accordingly? Don’t worry you are not alone in this. Usual approach is “don’t stress yourself; relax it will work”. Ask a lady who’s planning pregnancy how it feels not getting pregnancy, after all she is reminded on a monthly basis if things don’t work out over and again. For all the stressed out couples here is a good news it has not been proven that a hectic and turbulent life makes conception difficult. But an unhealthy lifestyle with smoking, alcohol consumption or obesity definitely has a negative effect on fertility.
If you haven’t striked the bull’s-eye it may also be due to the weight. As in many other health concerns, fertility depends a lot on whether the future mums and dads have too much or too little on their ribs. Depending on initial weight, losing or gaining weight to bring the BMI between 18 to 25 can work wonders. Both gaining or losing weight should be done slowly and with measure and aim.
For who wants to know exactly: both over or underweight can lead to over or under production of oestrogen in women. This messes up the hormonal balance and leads to anovulation. In men who are overweight, too much testosterone is converted to oestrogen. This has negative consequences for the sperm quality. Being underweight affects the potency and quality of sperms.
If a woman is using hormonal contraception to avoid pregnancy now plans for pregnancy and it doesn’t work immediately, then they reproach themselves for possibly using hormonal contraception. Once the hormonal contraceptives are stopped the body returns to normal function quite quickly and the natural fertility returns.
So here’s the good news for all the couples planning pregnancy neither baboon urine nor wooden penises are required for pregnancy. Hormonal birth control and stress need not be a concern and even if old age or weight is high, options still exist. All what you have to do is to take a step forward and consult your doctor. Dr. Alka IVF will be happy to answer your individual questions personally.