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Fertility myths set couples up for failure, disappointment

 There is only an 85 per cent probability that one would get pregnant if the person is involved in sex every day for one year. [iStockphoto]

Fertility is not always guaranteed. Even in the best of circumstances when everyone is fertile, they have less than a 10 per cent chance of getting pregnant every month.

This is according to Dr Charles Muteshi who is a consultant in reproductive medicine and surgery from Oxford University.

He adds that there is only an 85 per cent probability that one would get pregnant if the person is involved in sex every day for one year.

Dr Muteshi says that women who consider themselves fertile by the mere fact that they receive their monthly menses get disappointed when they don’t get pregnant.

He said, equally, for their male counterparts, having an ejaculation does not equal fertility.

“A lot of people get frustrated when it has not happened in the first few months but it is not that there is a problem. It is just the odds or probability that it is not working yet but it might work,” says Muteshi.

He said that there are so many myths that surround fertility because it is often a taboo secretive subject and few people can talk about it openly.

Muteshi said some factors that significantly lower the chances of getting pregnant.

These include the age of a woman, failure to ovulate and problems in the menstrual cycle. 

Structural problems of the reproductive system including blocked tubes, fibroids or endometriosis growth also lead to infertility as well as infections in the reproductive system including pelvic infections that are left untreated.

If a woman produces an egg that is not mature, fertilisation will not occur because the sperm only fertilises a properly mature egg.

Also responsible for infertility are conditions such as endometriosis  presence of tissue similar to the lining of the uterus) and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS (ovaries produce abnormal amounts of male sex hormones and androgens) 

In addition, if an individual is treated for cancer using chemotherapy or powerful radiation in the pelvis, there is always a risk that it will cause infertility in future

Other causes are operations such as removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) or removal of ovaries (oophorectomy).

Muteshi highlights that rejuvenation to fertility comes down on the tests done which leads to advice on treatment options. 

“If the test comes out normal, then we will say they have what we call unexplained fertility,” says Dr Muteshi.

“If we find that there is no problem and you’ve been trying to 2 to 3 years, the odds are much lower that it would still work,” Muteshi highlights.

He adds that early detection of abnormal signs helps a lot and advises that one should talk with a doctor for help if they note them.

“Keeping up a moderate exercise routine and eating healthy foods can improve your outlook and keep you focused on living your life despite fertility problems,” advises Dr Muteshi.

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