This Is Fertility Mythbusting

I do this with my patients all of the time. There’s a lot of truth-telling that goes on in my office, and often myth-busting is necessary to get to the truth.

Perhaps you can relate — there are so many headlines and hearsay stories about fertility. Do you struggle to disseminate between what is evidence-based science and what is not? If so, then this show is for you.

I don’t care where you live or who your doctor is. My goal is to share what I know in the event that it’s even the tiniest bit helpful to you and your fertility journey.

Let’s dive in.

FERTILITY MYTH #1: Your Hormone Levels Can Tell If You Need IVF

What’s the takeaway here?

Get your levels checked — this is always the easiest first step to take. However, use that as a diagnostic tool to start your process of uncovering more information about your ability to get pregnant. Reference the TUSHY method. Work on this with your doctor. Get involved in understanding your body hand-in-hand with a medical professional. One final note related to that last point— as I’ve seen this done. Please don’t place your test result readings on a message board online searching for an expert opinion to weigh-in. That’s an evaluation reserved for your doctor or someone like me. Be mindful of where you’re getting your advice.

FERTILITY MYTH #2: You Need To Be Trying For A Really Long Time Before You Get Sperm Checked

Today we are lucky in that there are really cool do-it-yourself kits. YO sperm kits. I am not paid to support this company, but I think their test is awesome. You can do this test easily, show it to your doctor and then they can tell you if you need a more advanced version of that kit.

There’s really no excuse not to do these sorts of tests. Once you’re clear on the quality then you can understand if there are things you can do to make the sperm even better.

Trust me when I say this. You do not want to be the person that tries for a year and then finds out that there’s no healthy sperm due to a genetic reason. That would be super frustrating — just wasting 12 months. I want to prevent that from happening.

FERTILITY MYTH #3: Menopause Is Really Hard to Pinpoint. There’s No Point Even Checking Levels To Find Out More.

I feel sorry for all of my employees in my office because I have the thermostat set to 66 degrees and they’re all in ski jackets walking around me, and that is the truth. At the end of the day, menopause is not a mystery.

There are levels you can check: FSH, AMH — they tell you when your menopause is.

No woman should find out she is menopause when she’s ready to start her family.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Get your levels checked by the time you’re 25. Consider getting your levels checked even earlier if you have a family history of early menopause, if you’ve had one ovary removed, or if you know your mom needed fertility medications to get pregnant.
  • If you’re 32 years old and you’re not done with your family and you have one kid, but want a second. You may want to consider preserving embryos, not eggs — if you still like your partner. Wink, wink.
  • If you’re 37 and have one kid. Definitely don’t spend too much time trying and get your fertility levels checked and see a doctor. At the end of the day, your fertility is precious.

FERTILITY MYTH #4: It’s Easy To Get Pregnant After 40 — Just Do IVF.

Readers — this story. This and many, many, many more. This is why I write these posts. I don’t want you to say, “I wish someone had told me…”

I’m channeling all of my patient’s stories and energy into this post. I’m fired up about this. IVF is taking an egg, putting it with a sperm cell, and hoping it’s a genetically normal embryo. Which at 40 there is a 10% chance an embryo is genetically normal. Yes, I have my strategies and my special sauce. However, I do not have the power to change DNA to get you pregnant.

FERTILITY MYTH #5: Egg Freezing Gives You Control and Guarantees You Can “Have It All”.

Egg freezing means taking control of your fertility. It guarantees you a successful pregnancy in the future. You can have it all.

This is harmful vs. helpful messaging. It’s selling a false promise versus exposing the truth. I am here to expose the truth. You want to know the truth — that’s presumably why you’re reading this.

Egg Freezing gives you the chance for pregnancy. It may give you the illusion of control. It may make you feel like you can have it all. But it does not.

It’s very important to freeze an embryo if you can. I have women that come to me with eggs they’ve frozen and we find out that none of them are viable.

Here’s my advice to you:

Understand the viability of the eggs you’ve frozen. Think about all of the things ahead of time. I’m hoping that you realize that egg freezing gives you the illusion of control and no guarantees. Finally, get your levels checked.

FERTILITY MYTH #6: IVF Medications Increase Your Egg Count

Patients think they don’t need to take medication if they have lots of eggs. You still have to take medication.

Realize what your numbers are. Look at the IVF attrition pyramid from Dr. Ezzati.

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Understand what you’ll get from the steps in the cycle.

FERTILITY MYTH #7: Genetic Testing is 100% Guaranteed

I tell my patients:

Did you know that you can test your embryos for chromosomes? You can do genetic testing on them.

My patients typically respond:

Yes — I’ve heard that genetic testing is 100% guaranteed for a healthy pregnancy.

Unfortunately— it is not a guarantee for anything. With the chromosome testing, all you can check are the chromosomes. I can’t check genes and tell you what the baby’s eye color will be. All I can tell you is if the embryo will have an extra chromosome. Watch my show on PGT — this will dive into more detail about this topic. Or read about it here.

FERTILITY MYTH #8: You Can Create A Male Or Female Embryo Through IVF

The fact remains: We (as fertility doctors) can’t control the gender of an embryo.

A quick side story: There was a study with a clickbait title about women who are stressed during pregnancy have more girls and less boys. That is so false. It makes me upset even thinking about that headline. My point is this. If you want a male embryo it could take 2–3 cycles for that to happen. It is nature and human biology taking hold.

FERTILITY MYTH #9: You Have To Do 3–6 Cycles of IUI Before Doing IVF

I’ve seen patients with blocked tubes on a hysterosalpingogram tell me that they knew about the blockage, but still did IUI. This is before they saw me, of course, but they pursued the typical course of treatment for infertility vs. the type of treatment specific to help them. They tell me they knew in their gut it wasn’t right, but they did it anyway.

This is an example of where I would encourage you to speak up for yourself. If something doesn’t feel right then say so. If you know what you need and you’re not getting it then state that. Find a different doctor if you need to.

FERTILITY MYTH #10: IVF Makes A Woman Go Through Menopause Earlier

IVF does not make a woman go through menopause earlier. I rescue eggs as a fertility doctor. We save eggs. We are not causing you to go through menopause sooner than you already would.

FERTILITY MYTH #11: After An IVF Pregnancy, Your Chances Of Having A Natural Pregnancy Increase

Never spread this rumor. If you get pregnant naturally after IVF that’s wonderful, but your fertility levels do not get better over time.

In Summary:

As always, I encourage you to reach out here in the comments or email me directly: email@eggwhisperer.com, if you have any questions. Or if you have a suggested topic for a future show.

You can also catch more of me and topics like this through The Egg Whisperer Show. The episodes are live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and on Wednesdays at 7 PM PST. Subscribe to the podcast too!

Fertility Doctor, Reproductive Endocrinologist, Egg Whisperer: www.eggwhisperer.com

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