Lifestyle

Boxers or briefs? An expert busts five common fertility myths


Should you be drinking coffee while trying to conceive? (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Fertility is a very tricky, not to mention incredibly sensitive, subject.

Whether it’s someone warning you about your ‘biological clock’ or Kourtney Kardashian drinking her fiancé’s semen in a bid to conceive, there’s a lot of unwarranted, and often unfounded, advice given to people trying to have a baby. 

While it’s completely fair for those hoping to conceive to try everything in their arsenal, there are a number of myths surrounding fertility and conception – which are a waste of time and energy.

From wearing specific types of underwear to after-sex yoga, Dr Michael Eisenberg of Twoplus Fertility, breaks them down – sorting the fact from the fiction.

Expert busts five common fertility myths

If you orgasm during sex you are more likely to conceive  

While orgasming is (hopefully) an important part of sex regardless of the end goal, it’s simply an added bonus when it comes to trying to conceive.

According to Dr Michael, there is no evidence to suggest that the female orgasm makes it more likely that a couple will conceive.  

However, he says, ‘women who enjoy sex will generally have more regular sex, which is proven to increase the chances of conception.  

Studies show that couples who have sex every other day have more chance of conceiving than those who have sex less often.’

In this respect, if orgam is the aim, sex is more likely to be pleasurable and less like a chore. 

When trying to conieve, Dr Michael suggests trying ‘to avoid making sexual activity an obligation.’

You can’t get pregnant during your period 

You can still get pregnant while on your period (Picture: Getty Images)

The myth that being on your period is some kind of biological contraceptive is dangerous not just for people who are hoping to conceive, but those who definitely aren’t.

‘Although the chances are fairly low, you can get pregnant if you have sex during your period, especially if you have irregular or short cycles,’ says Dr Michael. 

‘If you have sex towards the end of your period for example, and you then ovulate early, it is possible for sperm to survive during that time.’

Raising your legs in the air after sex makes it more likely you will get pregnant 

If you take the time to do a naked plough pose post-coitus (instead of soaking up those endorphins in a post-sex embrace), you’re only playing yourself. 

‘There is no conclusive evidence that elevating your legs after sex will increase the chances of conception,’ says Dr Michael.

However, he notes that there is some benefit to maximising the amount of sperm that reaches the cervix via other methods (like a sperm guide device).

‘When sperm is ejaculated it quickly enters the cervical mucus which helps it move through the reproductive system,’ he says. 

‘Millions of sperm need to enter the cervix, so that hundreds of sperm can prepare the way for the ‘survivor sperm’ to fertilise the egg.’

It’s better for men to wear boxers than briefs 

While choice of underwear is likely to make a difference, it may be a good idea for men to avoid using the sauna (Picture: Getty Images)

Boxers or briefs? 

Outside of which makes you feel more comfortable (or which gives your new girlfriend the ick), your choice of underwear is mostly irrelevant when it comes to fertility. 

‘While consistent or prolonged heating of the testes can reduce sperm quality, an individual’s choice of underwear is unlikely to meaningfully change scrotal temperatures,’ says Dr Michael.

‘So, wearing comfortable underwear is best.  

‘However, avoiding long, hot baths or saunas is a good idea.’

You don’t need to cut out coffee before pregnancy

While it’s no crime to drink a little coffee every now and then when trying to conceive, people who consume a lot of caffeine should consider cutting down.

‘Everything in moderation,’ says Dr Michael.

‘Cutting back on caffeine is reasonable while trying to conceive, as high levels of caffeine consumption (more than five cups of coffee per day) have been associated with decreased fertility.

‘Women trying to get pregnant should also avoid drinking more than two alcoholic drinks a day.’

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