Fertility: Fact and Fiction
Birth Control Pills Reduce Fertility (Fiction )
Stress Causes Infertility (Fiction)
In vitro fertilization is associated with the greatest risk for multiple pregnancy (Fiction)
Unfortunately, some IVF programs, will transfer large number of embryos into women in an attempt to increase their programs pregnancy rates. This will definitely increase the risk of multiple pregnancy. These programs are best avoided.
Taking sugar or anything “white” out of your diet can improve ovulation. (Fiction)
Some women, such as obese women or those with polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS, have bodies that are resistant to the hormone insulin. Occasionally, they develop high insulin levels. Insulin resistance has been linked to ovulation problems. Weight loss is associated with a reduction in insulin resistance and has been successful at inducing ovulation. Recently, a study of nurses found an association in that women with diets that were high in refined carbohydrates had ovulation problems. There is no data, however, to indicate that changing your diet results in an improvement in ovulation problems. In fact, a recent study in overweight women with PCOS compared a low fat diet to a low carb diet but failed to find a difference.
Obesity plays a role in infertility. (Fact)
Excess weight and obesity can affect fertility in a number of different ways by causing hormonal imbalances that have an impact on ovulation and menstruation. Additionally, obese patients have a poorer chance for success with fertility treatments. They tend to have a worse response to fertility medications and as a result may need higher doses. Pregnancy rates are uniformly lower for obese women. This is true even for high tech treatments such as in vitro fertilization. Some IVF studies show a delivery rate for obese women that is one half what it is for thinner women.
Smoking contributes to infertility. (Fact)
Smoking harms fertility in a number of ways. Research indicates that smoking is harmful to women’s ovaries and the degree of harm is dependent upon the amount and period of time a woman smokes. Smoking accelerates the loss of eggs and reproductive function and may advance menopause by several years.
Wearing briefs as opposed to boxer shorts lowers sperm counts (Fiction)
It has been believed that briefs increase the scrotal temperature and thus impair sperm production. However, using sophisticated temperature monitoring techniques, doctors have shown there is no significant difference in scrotal temperature regardless of the underwear type. Other studies have failed to find an impact of type of underwear on semen parameters.
Robitussin (guaifenesin) will improve the chances for pregnancy if a woman has “thick” cervical mucus (Fiction)
Around the time of ovulation, a woman’s cervical mucous becomes clear and watery to allow the passage of sperm. Some suspect that insufficient “thinning” of the cervical mucous is a cause for infertility. This is controversial in itself. Use of Robitussin has been rumored for decades to improve the chance for pregnancy. However, there has never been a single study to indicate any positive effect of Robitussin on achieving pregnancy.