Fact or fiction? 15 wild things you hear when you’re TTC

Getting it on frequently can increase your chances of conceiving but sorry, not when you climax during sex!    

Surprised couple

Hong Kong Heavenly King Aaron Kwok, whose wife Moka Fang is expecting their second child in May, revealed recently that he wants three or four kids.

The couple already have a daughter Chantelle, who turns 2 in September. At 53, Aaron joins a growing list of celebrities who started families late. This includes fellow Cantopop royalty/HK Heavenly Kings Leon Lai and Andy Lau, who were both 51 when they welcomed their first child.

Truth is, these fertile older dads are the exception. Indeed, ob-gyn Dr Beh Suan Tiong of SOG – Beh Clinic for Women cautions, “Men continue to produce sperm, hence, can enjoy fatherhood into their silver years but the quality and motility can be affected over time.”

What’s a fact, he also points out, is that women’s fertility decreases after the age of 35, as quality and survival rate of eggs decline after that.

SmartParents debunks common conception myths.        

The missionary position may allow semen to stay longer in the vagina but that does not necessarily translate to increased chances of pregnancy.”

#1 The missionary position is the best for conception

MYTH. No studies have been done to compare the pregnancy success rate of different sexual positions. “The missionary position may allow semen to stay longer in the vagina but that does not necessarily translate to increased chances of pregnancy,” says Dr Beh. Nonetheless, any position that allows ejaculation to occur in the vagina is good for conception.

#2 Having sex based on ovulation increases the likelihood of conception

TRUTH. Ovulation occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary and moves down the fallopian where it can get fertilised if a sperm is present. So, it is important for a woman to accurately predict when she is ovulating. Suggests Dr Beh, “You can also visit a gynaecologist for an ultrasound test to monitor the follicle growth or [get] a urine ovulation test.”   

#3 If you don’t conceive within six months of trying, you have fertility issues

TRUTH. Statistically, 80 to 90 per cent of healthy couples who have regular sex can conceive within a year. But if there are factors that could affect fertility, for example, if the woman had endometriosis or a pelvic infection, consult a doctor after six months. 

#4 Leaving his smartphone in the trouser pocket can reduce a man’s quantity and quality of sperm

MYTH. There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that electronic devices cause sperm quality or motility to deteriorate, Dr Beh notes. When the smartphone is kept in the pocket, whatever “radiation” it emits is very low as it’s not in use. 

#5 Having an orgasm during intercourse increases one’s conception chances

MYTH. That said, an orgasm enhances your sexual pleasure and satisfaction and may lead to more frequent sexual activity, which may increase your conception chances.   

#6 Alternative remedies such as TCM increases conception chances

SOMEWHAT TRUE. When there is no obvious cause found for your inability to conceive or when there is mild sperm abnormality, Dr Beh states, “There’s no harm trying alternative remedies such as traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or Ayurvedic medicine in addition to Western medicine, or before considering IVF.” Bear in mind, however, that age is a significant factor in fertility, so couples should not to spend too much time on these therapies.   

 

Couple in bed

#7 Having sex every day during a woman’s fertile window increases the likelihood of pregnancy

TRUTH. While this works in theory, ovulation sometimes is difficult to predict, so couples may miss the fertile window, which is typically three days before and during ovulation Dr Beh suggests, “Cast the net wider by having more regular intercourse after menstruation ends through to the end of the cycle.”

#8 It’s harder to conceive if you’re on the Pill for too long

MYTH. Long-term use of the Pill has no effect on fertility. Studies show that nearly half of the women on the Pill get pregnant within the first three months of stopping birth control.

#9 Breastfeeding is an effective form of birth control

SOMEWHAT TRUE. Breastfeeding delays ovulation and also affects its frequency. Prolactin, the hormone responsible for breastmilk production, suppresses the follicle stimulating hormone that stimulates egg production. It also decreases fertilisation and fertility to a certain degree. However, Dr Beh add, “But women’s responses to breastfeeding vary, so consider other methods of contraception if you are not ready for another pregnancy.”     

“Ovulation is difficult to predict so you can end up missing the fertile window. Cast the net wider by having more regular intercourse through to the end of your cycle.” 

#10 Men don’t have a biological clock

MYTH. Fertility differs between women and men. Women do not produce any eggs and do not experience ovulation after menopause. Men, however, still produce sperm even when they get older and can father a child, says Dr Beh. More recent research has shown that sperm count declines over time and sperm from older men are more defective. Here’s a tip for aspiring dads-to-be: Maintain sperm quality by ejaculating at least once or twice a week.

#11 A woman can’t become pregnant if she has a sperm allergy

MYTH. Sperm allergy occurs a woman suffers allergic reactions to proteins in her spouse’s semen. Symptoms include redness, itching, and a burning sensation in the vagina (or anywhere that came into contact with the semen.  A complex and controversial topic. It can affect your chances of conceiving but that’s not absolute.

#12 Drinking coffee every day makes it tougher for a woman to conceive

MYTH. Drinking one or two cups of coffee a day does not affect fertility or pregnancy. But the World Health Organization recommends keeping daily caffeine intake to 300mg (about that in three cups of brewed coffee) or less to avoid increases the risk of low birthweight in babies and premature labour, among other foetal problems.

#13 To have a boy, have sex just before ovulation. To have a girl, have sex a few days before

MYTH. The gender of your child depends on the combination of X and Y chromosomes present in the egg and sperm. The egg always carries the X chromosome while the sperm carries either, so you get a daughter if it’s XX and a son (XY) if the sperm carries the Y chromosome.  

#14 Stress affects your chances of becoming pregnant

TRUTH. Severe stress is not good, especially if you’re TTC. It can result in fatigue and poor sleep, which lower the libido. In women, it may also lead to irregular periods, which affects ovulation.

#15 It gets easier to conceive after your first child

MYTH. Some couples experience secondary infertility, where the wife cannot become pregnant or carry a foetus to term after she’s given birth to one or several kids. Although secondary infertility accounts for less than a quarter of infertility cases, the condition has various causes, including male and female sexual health issues, and undetermined reasons.

Photos: iStock

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