Do boxers seriously interfere with a man’s sperm count? Can drinking cough medicine truly make it easier to conceive?
If you and your partner are trying to get pregnant, chances are someone — your mom, your best friend, the internet — has shared some out-there theories meant to help you along.
There is a lot of information online about what helps or hinders a woman’s chance of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. Unfortunately, some of the information is misleading or simply not correct.
But before you shrug these off as crazy myths, get savvy first. Some old wives’ tales can turn out to be valid after all. Here are 5 myth busters to help you on your fact-finding way.
# 1 These days, women can have children at any age.
This is a myth.
Age is perhaps the No. 1 variable that affects fertility, according to experts. It’s really all about a woman’s ovarian reserve, which decreases markedly as a woman ages. This is because girls are born with all the eggs she is going to have in their lifetime. As a woman ages her eggs age, decreasing in quality and number.
Doctors say that the most dangerous myth is that women think they have time until 40. In fact, your fertility starts to fall precipitously at 27 or 28, and by 35 it’s iffy.
According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, by age 40, a woman’s chances of getting pregnant are less than 5 % per cycle.
There are many factors—including alcohol, caffeine and nicotine consumption, as well as conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome—that affect your fertility, so don’t make any decisions on your life map based on when your sisters conceived.
If you want to see how your fertility is faring, talk to your doctor, not your mom.
# 2 Stress reduces fertility.
True. To some extent, anyway.
A recent study showed that women who took a stress reduction course had significantly greater success with in vitro fertilizaiton.
But doctors point out that women become pregnant in all kinds of stressful situations around the globe. They do tell her patients who have very stressful jobs to try to work less while they are trying to conceive.
Considering all the ways in which stress hurts our bodies, it’s not surprising that it could affect the reproductive cycle. But remember, treating sex for getting pregnant like a military mission can lead to even more undue stress for both parties.
# 3 The more sex you have during your fertile days, the more likely you are to conceive.
This is a fact, to a point.
Until recently, an every-other-day sex strategy was recommended — but the latest research suggests that more is more after all. For a man who has a normal sperm count, having sex every day during his partner's fertile days is most likely to result in conception.
More than once a day, on the other hand, is less. The more performances in a day, the less packed they're likely to be with sperm. A guy needs time to build up his troops between deployments. In fact, a man with a lower sperm count may want to wait a day in between ejaculations to build up his numbers. Although it takes only one sperm to fertilize an egg, there is strength in numbers.
# 4 Boxers are better than briefs when you're trying to conceive.
This is a myth.
When your partner gets overheated — whether he’s in a hot tub, in a sauna, exercising in spandex bike shorts or wearing tighty-whities — his sperm production could go down. In most cases, it’s not enough to make a big difference.
In fact, a 2016 study of more than 500 couples found that the impact underwear choice has on semen isn’t enough to affect fertility. If you’re still concerned, it can't hurt to tell your partner to switch to boxers.<.p>
# 5 Having an orgasm helps suck up the sperm.
Sure, an orgasm feels great, but it doesn’t appear to affect your chances of conception.
The theory that orgasm helps pull the sperm up into the contracting uterus has been disproven by studies that show that there’s no correlation between orgasm and conception. The truth is, sperm can live in the reproductive tract for days, orgasm or not.
While having an orgasm can never be a bad thing, and it may in fact help move the sperm in the direction of the egg, a woman does not need the big O in order to conceive. But we won’t tell if this is one secret you decide to keep to yourself!