15 Fertility Myths Heard by Specialists

There are countless myths about fertility and fertility specialists know this very well. It's said that certain sex positions make pregnancy more possible or that standing on your head after intercourse makes it easier. Neither these, nor any other beliefs are true.
15 Fertility Myths Heard by Specialists

Written by Edith Sánchez

Last update: 15 December, 2022

Fertility specialists hear all kinds of stories in their offices. There are a great number of fertility myths that circulate on social networks or by word of mouth. Many people believe them, even though some of them are quite outlandish.

It’s estimated that one in six couples have problems conceiving a child. This type of problem affects people of all ages, walks of life, ethnicities, and beliefs. Some are at a loss to explain why this happens to them and draw their own conclusions before consulting fertility specialists.

The truth is that there are many reasons why a man, a woman, or both are unable to have children. In this regard, there are many misconceptions that, despite having no basis in fact, are taken for granted. Fertility specialists have to point out time and again the falsity of these claims. The following are the most widespread fertility myths in this regard.

15 fertility myths heard by specialists

An infertile couple.
If you’re having trouble conceiving, see a fertility specialist and don’t be swayed by what people you know tell you.

Fertility specialists are also experts at hearing myths of all kinds. Despite advances in science and widespread access to information today, these erroneous beliefs persist and continue to circulate. The following are some of the most common.

1. Getting pregnant is easy

There is a mistaken belief that getting pregnant   is just a matter of deciding to. Fertility specialists point out that even young couples, without any health problems, only achieve pregnancy in 20-30% of cases during an ovulatory cycle.

The probability increases to 57% in three months. Then to 72% in six months and 85% in one year. As you can see, the matter is not so simple. In many cases, it takes a year to get pregnant.

2. You can get pregnant if you have sex every day

It’s clear that the more sex one has, the more likely it is that a pregnancy will occur. However, a study revealed that there’s no major difference between having sex every day and every other day. Also, frequent sex reduces the number of sperm per ejaculation.

3. The key is to have sex within 24 hours of ovulation

This is one of the myths most often heard by fertility specialists. Once ovulation is over, there’s no way for a woman to get pregnant. Fertilization takes place if the egg meets the sperm in the fallopian tubes, which occurs seven to 10 days before the period. Otherwise, it’s not possible to get pregnant.

4. If there’s a period, there’s a fertility

This isn’t true. First of all, there are women who have ovulatory dysfunction and still have menstruation. That is, they aren’t fertile, but they do have their period. In addition to this, about five years before menopause it’s very unlikely that pregnancy will occur, even if the woman still has her period.

5. The important thing is that the woman is fertile

This is another one of those myths that fertility specialists often hear. Some people believe that if pregnancy doesn’t occur it’s because of the woman’s infertility. However, 35 to 40% of the cases in which it is impossible to conceive are due to male infertility. This is an issue where both bodies have to be taken into account.

6. As long as the body is healthy, age doesn’t matter

Although being athletic and having an optimal state of health is very favorable in order to achieve pregnancy, this isn’t enough. In these cases, age does matter, although it isn’t the determining factor. In the last case, achieving fertilization implies the interconnection of a series of factors and age is one of them.

7. Many women have babies at 40

Although it’s true that some women manage to conceive at 40, the truth is that most do not. Women’s fertility begins to decline after the age of 35. From then on, the possibility of getting pregnant is less and less. It’s estimated that there’s only a 20% chance.

8. If you’re already a father, you have no fertility problem

Fertility specialists often hear this idea, which many think is true when it isn’t. As in the case of women, age has an important influence. One study found that, after the age of 39, men’s fertility declines by 23% each year. It doesn’t matter if you’re a father or not, fertility isn’t eternal!

9. Weight is a secondary factor

Being overweight produces hormonal changes, both in women’s and men’s bodies. In the first case, this can affect ovulation; in the second, semen production. Fertility specialists estimate that just by losing 10 to 20% of weight, the possibility of conceiving increases.

10. You don’t have to stop drinking coffee

Coffee isn’t exactly the best friend of fertility. According to a study carried out in 2007, women who drank more than one cup of coffee per day were only half as likely to become pregnant during an ovulatory cycle. It should be remembered that caffeine is also present in beverages such as tea, chocolate, and cola.

11. Quit smoking? Only if you’re pregnant

This is one of the myths that fertility specialists have to deal with every day. Data indicate that up to 13% of female infertility cases are due to smoking. There are no estimates for men, but it also affects them. Moreover, this impact occurs no matter how many cigarettes are consumed per day.

You might also be interested in: How Are Eating Disorders Related to Infertility?

12. Only women should take supplements before pregnancy

It’s well known that if a woman is looking to get pregnant, she should take folic acid supplements. However, it has been found that men should also take it. In both cases, these can prevent problems in the baby. But, in addition, these supplements were found to increase sperm count and sperm motility.

13. If nothing works, assisted reproduction will solve it.

One shouldn’t be so sure about this. Generally speaking, assisted reproduction can solve all male fertility problems and ovulation abnormalities in the case of women. What it can’t do is improve poor egg quality, as an effect of age. After the age of 40, it may not be possible to resort to this alternative.

14. The moon has an influence

This is one of the most curious myths that fertility specialists hear. There’s a belief that tuning into the phases of the moon can help achieve pregnancy. This isn’t true. If a relationship is sometimes found between the moon and fertility, it’s due to the fact that a woman’s menstrual cycle lasts the same length as the lunar cycle. Beyond this, there’s no link between the one and the other.

15. The cause is psychological

It’s true that stress can cause hormonal disturbances that hinder fertility. However, this doesn’t mean that mood alone is the cause of infertility. The impossibility of achieving conception is due to physical causes in all cases. Psychological factors only have a limited influence.

Beliefs about fertility are passed on by word of mouth even though there’s often no scientific evidence for them, and even when they have been disproved.

Specialists hear many other fertility myths…

There are many other myths that fertility specialists have to deal with in their offices. For example, certain foods stimulating fertility, and being very thin helping to conceive more easily. Both of these are false.

Also, it’s said that sexually transmitted diseases affect general health, but have no impact on fertility, when this isn’t true either. These infections can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and this causes infertility.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Allen Et. Al., J. (1995, 7 diciembre). Timing of Sexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation — Effects on the Probability of Conception, Survival of the Pregnancy, and Sex of the Baby. The New England Journal of Medicine. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199512073332301.
  • Matorras R, Matorras F, Expósito A, Martinez L, Crisol L. Decline in human fertility rates with male age: a consequence of a decrease in male fecundity with aging? Gynecol Obstet Invest. 2011;71(4):229-35. doi: 10.1159/000319236. Epub 2010 Dec 15. PMID: 21160151.
  • Hey E. (2007). Coffee and pregnancy. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 334(7590), 377. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39122.395058.80.
  • Eraso, L. L., & Maya, W. C. (2019). Ser o no ser fértil, esa es la cuestión: encuesta sobre la fertilidad masculina. Clínica e Investigación en Ginecología y Obstetricia, 46(4), 143-147.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.