There remains a stigma around infertility, which can fuel myths and misconceptions. As a surrogate agency, we want to shed more light on infertility and help combat any stigma associated with it. We thought one of the best places to start would be to discuss some of the more common — and even insidious — myths that have developed around infertility.
Choice Surrogacy offers a trusted surrogate agency for both potential parents and surrogates. If you’re considering becoming a parent through surrogacy, start by filling out our parent questionnaire. In the meantime, let’s start deconstructing these myths about infertility.
Infertility Is A Woman’s Problem
One pervasive myth about infertility is that it’s a woman’s issue. It’s not terribly surprising that this myth would develop. Misconceptions and misunderstandings are many and varied when it comes to women’s healthcare. There has even been research that women are systematically misdiagnosed and underdiagnosed for medical issues, largely because men are disproportionate representatives in medical trials.
Additionally, it is easy to assume that infertility reflects a woman’s inability to have a child since she is the carrier. Infertility is a medical condition, not a woman’s condition. The reality is that diagnoses of infertility are split evenly among men and women — at around 40% in each, with 20% resulting from complications with both partners.
Age Only Affects Women’s Fertility
An extension of the first myth is that age will only affect women’s fertility. This is perpetuated by phrases like “her biological clock is ticking,” as well as stories of old men fathering children late into their twilight years.
While it’s true that women will experience a significant drop in fertility between the ages of 32 and 37, it’s not the case that men are impervious to similar trends. Indeed, men will experience a significant drop in sperm count and motility after the age of 40. Across the board, men’s infertility rates increase with age.
Infertility Is A Matter Of Will Power
It’s extremely common for people to blame themselves for their infertility. The stigma around infertility doesn’t help this. But people often say things — oftentimes in a misguided attempt to help — that pregnancy can happen if you “just relax” or “try harder.” While there is some evidence that chronic stress can play a role in infertility, it’s certainly more complicated than just willing it to happen.
Ultimately, effort does not always translate to success. This is true psychologically as well as for fertility treatments. Infertility is a complex issue and there are a lot of variables, including pure luck. It cannot be boiled down to mere will power or strength of desire.
Timing Doesn’t Matter
A young, healthy 30-year old woman with no apparent fertility complications has only a 20% chance of becoming pregnant each month. After a year of trying, only 85% of couples who are actively trying to conceive are successful. And if after a year a couple does not become pregnant, their chances of pregnancy falls to 5%.
These numbers can be discouraging, but they speak to the difficulties in conception in general — and the importance of timing in particular. And like we said above, this also underscores the role that luck can play in a person’s fertility journey.
Every Fertility Journey Looks The Same
Family planning around fertility can vary greatly. Family planning and fertility are not monolithic issues. They are varied and complex, and there are many ways to approach them, including working with a surrogate agency. The idea that every fertility journey should look a certain way will discourage people from being open and honest about their choices and struggles.
Instead of furthering the stigmas around alternative fertility journeys, we should embrace the complexity and encourage people and families to figure out what’s best for them. This very much includes the choice to work with a surrogate agency.
There are many more myths and misconceptions revolving around infertility and family planning. We will further explore these in future blog posts, so be sure to check back in with us! And when you’re ready to start exploring your fertility journey, reach out to Choice Surrogacy. We are a trusted and compassionate surrogacy agency who is here to help you on your journey. Reach out to us today.