8 common fertility myths you shouldn’t believe in

Even if everyone says so, this doesn’t mean that it’s true. Our experts separate fertility facts from fiction…


When you tell your girlfriends — or anyone else — that you are trying for a baby, chances are, you’ll find yourself subjected to well-meaning advice.

Worse, on the Internet, it’s all too easy to get misinformation about the falsehoods surrounding fertility. SmartParents expert Dr Christopher Chong, ob-gyn Dr Peter Chew and Mount Elizabeth Hospital ob-gyn Dr Ann Tan set the record straight on these common myths…

MYTH #1 “As long as you’re having sex often, getting pregnant isn’t an issue.”

THE EXPERT SAYS A healthy sex drive does increase your chances of conceiving — after all, your libido determines how often you do the deed — it is just one many aspects to consider. Sexual health problems aside, other health conditions like high blood pressure, being under- or overweight and a thyroid condition can contribute to your inability to conceive.

Even after giving birth, you and your hubby are still at risk of suffering from secondary infertility.

To improve your fertility as a couple, making simple changes to your lifestyle offers payoffs. Dr Chew advises you to:
* Do regular exercise together as a couple.
* Keep to a healthy diet by adding more fruits and vegetables, nuts such as walnuts and almonds and whole milk products like yoghurt and cheese, which help with ovulation.
* Encourage your hubby to wear boxer shorts as tight-fitting clothing and underwear can affect sperm health.
* Skip the sauna, prolonged bicycle riding, hot tubs and hot baths, or placing a laptop on your lap. Increased heat or impact to the nether regions can drastically affect sperm quality.
* Reduce stress by practising meditation or yoga.

MYTH #2 “If you’ve given birth before, you won’t have a problem having another child.”

THE EXPERT SAYS Even after giving birth, you and your hubby are still at risk of suffering from secondary infertility. The term refers to the situation where a woman is unable to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more children. Secondary infertility accounts for less than a quarter of all infertility cases, in general, says Dr Chong. 

Nor is secondary infertility a “woman’s problem”. Dr Chong points out that a couple’s infertility is caused by one-third male sexual health issues, another third by female sexual health issues and the remaining third to undetermined causes. Sticking to a healthy diet and taking the necessary supplements are best ways to prevent issues like diabetes or polycystic ovarian disease, Dr Tan notes.

MYTH #3 “Many women have babies when they’re 40 and over, so you’ve nothing to worry about.”

THE EXPERT SAYS While we’ll be the first to admit that being an older mum rocks, delaying parenthood can increase your risk of a complicated pregnancy. You’ll also likely take longer than your younger pals to get pregnant. You may also find yourself at a higher risk of:
* Gestational diabetes
* High blood pressure
* Premature labour
* Suffering a miscarriage
* Giving birth to a low birthweight baby
* Giving birth to a baby with chromosomal abnormalities or Down syndrome