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Do birth control pills lead to infertility? (Plus other infertility facts and myths)

You can’t believe everything you read online, especially about the causes of infertility. Lisa Hasty, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital, highlights five important facts that may give couples greater understanding about infertility.

FACT: Infertility is a common problem. It affects 12 percent of the reproductive-age population. This includes 7.3 million women and their partners in the U.S.

FACT: The female is not automatically to blame. One third of the time, infertility is caused by male factors, another third is caused by female factors, 20 percent of the time it is both partners, and 10 percent of all infertility cases are unexplained. It is important for both partners to complete a workup to identify the problem.

FACT: Infertility goes up exponentially with age. If a woman is under 35 years of age, she should try to get pregnant on her own for one year before seeking medical treatment. If a woman is between 35 and 40, and has tried to get pregnant without success for six months, a workup is recommended. If a woman is over the age of 40, she should see a fertility specialist right away.

FACT: Being on the pill for years does not cause infertility. In fact, Dr. Hasty says it can be protective by suppressing some issues like endometriosis and playing a role in balancing hormones.

FACT: If a woman is experiencing infertility yet has open tubes, no pelvic problems and there is no male factor at play, fertility drugs are the first method of treatment — 65 percent of pregnancies may be achieved with non-invasive treatments.

Millions of couples struggle with infertility, but there is hope and there is treatment.

“Consulting a physician for the facts and treatment options available to you is the best way to clear the mind of all the myths about pregnancy,” says Dr. Hasty. “A fertility specialist will set up a treatment plan that works best for you and your partner.”

To find a reproductive endocrinologist, click here.

Need to make an appointment with a Piedmont physician? Save time, book online.

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