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Top Fertility Misconceptions
According to a recent study, infertility is widely misunderstood. While 40 percent of reproductive-age women in the U.S. were concerned about their ability to get pregnant, one-third didn’t understand the adverse effects of STDs, obesity and irregular periods on fertility and one-fifth were unaware of the effects of aging.
“The individuals and couples that we see are educated, hard-working, and focused on to having a family. However, many have planned their lives with a vast misunderstanding about their fertility,” explains Dr. Angie Beltsos, Medical Director of Fertility Centers of Illinois. “The more couples and individuals know earlier in their lives about the realities of fertility, the more effectively they can achieve their family dreams, often without our help.”
In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, Dr. Beltsos is setting out to dispel popular misconceptions about age and fertility.
Misconception: I know my biological clock is ticking, but my eggs are fine until 40.
The reality: Women are born with seven million eggs, but only 400,000 remain at puberty. Ovarian reserve declines as a woman ages, with egg supply rapidly declining in her late 20s and again in the 30s, particularly after 35. Pregnancy rates in the early 30s are 15 percent, then decline to 10 percent after 35 and 5 percent over 40.
“It’s important that women not only understand their personal fertility, but are empowered to make informed decisions about family planning. Should women choose to delay childbearing until the late 30s, they can freeze their eggs to preserve their biological clock,” Beltsos says.
Misconception: I am healthy, my age won’t affect my fertility.
The reality: Being healthy and fit can aid in pregnancy, but the age of your eggs is unaffected by your fitness and diet regimen. Age is the most critical component of fertility potential.
“It is very common for women to misunderstand the relationship between fitness and fertility potential,” Beltsos says. “While being healthy and fit can boost fertility in a variety of ways, it does not change the fact that the quality and quantity of egg supply declines with age.” she adds.