Infertility Can Be Painful And Frustrating But Your Struggle Is Not Alone


May 19-28 is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, and it strives to let people know that they are not alone in their struggle conceive, and educate those who may not be familiar with how prevalent infertility is in our country.

Infertility can feel extremely isolating – as though no one around you understands the pain and frustration of trying to have a baby. But according to the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada, 1 in 6 Canadian couples are struggling with infertility. That means it’s likely that members of your family, friends and even coworkers are experiencing that same sense of isolation.

May 19-28 is Canadian Infertility Awareness Week, and it strives to let people know that they are not alone in their struggle conceive, and educate those who may not be familiar with how prevalent infertility is in our country.

The World Health Organization defines infertility as the inability to get pregnant after one year of trying, and there are many misconceptions surrounding its causes and how to overcome it. To help clear the air, I’ve listed some common fertility myths, and will separate the fact from fiction.

The older you get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant – Fact

Age is indeed a factor for female fertility.

Women are born with a finite number of eggs at birth, that are depleted monthly through menstruation until menopause sets in and ovulation stops. At birth most women have between 1-2 million eggs, by puberty that number has decreased to 300-400 thousand, and at 37 most women have around 35,000 left.

On top of this, the quality of a woman’s eggs declines as she ages. Poor egg quality can lead to trouble conceiving or maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Although most men are able to produce sperm for the entirety of their lives, the volume, motility (speed), and quality of that sperm is known to decline as men age, though the extent to which age affects male fertility is much less and harder to measure.

Because of this, we recommend women over the age of 35 begin speaking to a physician about their fertility concerns after six months of trying without a successful pregnancy.  Women over the age of 38 should be prudent to seek evaluation even sooner.  People under the age of 35 should seek help after one year unless they have a known problem such as endometriosis, irregular menstrual cycles (shorter than 25 days or longer than 35 days ) or low or absent sperm numbers.

Hot tubs are bad for male fertility -Fact.

We recommend that our male patients limit their time spent in hot water, since increased temperatures around the testicles can hinder sperm production.

“Just relax– once you stop worrying, it will happen.” – Fiction.

Family and friends often impart this wisdom onto people struggling to conceive, but at the end of the day there exists a magnitude of health problems that could be causing your infertility, and they should be addressed by a medical professional. Simply ignoring the fact that you may have a problem in hopes of removing some of the stress is unlikely to improve your chance of conception.

Though higher levels of stress are linked to numerous other health concerns, there are mixed opinions in the medical community regarding the effect stress has on fertility. At Genesis Fertility Centre we believe in addressing both the physical and emotional effects of infertility by not only treating our patients with innovative fertility technology, but also connecting them with available resources for acupuncture, holistic nutritional services, psychological counseling and safe movement/exercise.

Unhealthy dietary habits can negatively affect your fertility – Fact

Unhealthy eating and drinking habits can play a role in your fertility success. For example, consuming more than three to four alcoholic drinks per week is associated with decreased fertility in both men and women.

Women need to pay special attention to what they eat while trying to conceive since they are trying to create a healthy environment for their baby to live in for nine month – be sure to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, limit your red meat intake and avoid greasy fast food. Folic acid supplements and vitamin D are important pre and during pregnancy.

Women are much more likely to have fertility issues than men – Fiction

Infertility is typically labeled as solely a women’s issue, however the causes for infertility are split equally between men and women.

The sex or physical appearance of the baby can be influenced. – Fiction

The sex of the baby is determined by the sperm.  The baby inherits an x chromosome from the mother and either an x or y chromosome from the father.  Timing of intercourse, position, foods, and so on cannot influence the sex of the baby.

In Canada, gender selection is illegal and not practiced due to the social effects it has worldwide.   However, in the case of an x-linked genetic disease and embryo which is not affected can be chosen through in-vitro fertilization and this is almost always a female embryo.

The physical appearance of the baby is influenced also by the genetics of the family. For example certain foods or practices will not cause the baby to have fairer or darker skin.

Last Thursday, news broke that the world’s first baby conceived by using the stem cells of the mother’s yet-to-be developed eggs to rejuvenate her older, lower quality eggs, was born. Shortly after, a French bio-tech company announced that they had formed human sperm with stem cells (specifically immature germ cells). Science breakthroughs such as these have been hailed as major advancements in fertility medicine, and have many wondering what this might mean for future fertility treatments. Dr. Kashyap can provide insight.

Miscarriages: Are they preventable?

Fertility issues are often discussed within the context of women being unable to conceive, but what about women who experience repeated miscarriages? What treatments are available to them and is it possible to impact your body’s ability to carry to term through health and nutrition? Dr. Kashyap can shed light on this often overlooked area of women’s fertility.

Men: the missing piece in women’s fertility

What role does men’s infertility play in modern fertility challenges? Dr. Kashyap can discuss how men’s health issues can affect a couple’s ability to conceive, and what treatments are available to both men and women in these situations.

Dispelling fertility myths and fears

Is there a sexual position that betters your chance of conception? Does being on the pill for years a time really harm your fertility? Dr. Kashyap can set the record straight on common fertility myths, as well as misconceptions about infertility treatments.