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SGF’s Dr. Greenhouse and Dr. Malik Dispel Common Fertility Myths

When it comes to baby-making, there is a lot of speculation on the Internet over whether something is considered a fact or an old wives’ tale. Drs. Stephen Greenhouse and Shruti Malik, of SGF’s Fair Oaks, VA office, dispel some of the most common fertility myths to help set the record straight on what you really need to know about conception.

3 Common Fertility Myths


Fertility Myth: Tight underwear can impact a man’s fertility.

  • Myth: It’s the age old debate—boxers or briefs? The real concern about sperm is if the temperature is too high within the testicles, it can affect sperm production and motility, or movement. Patients have expressed the concern that if a man wears briefs instead of boxers, their scrotal temperature will increase, which can impact their fertility. “This is an old wives’ tale. It has not been shown that either boxers or briefs make any particular difference,” says Dr. Greenhouse. Patients have also asked about seat warmers. This is also not an issue for sperm production or motility as the temperature is not hot enough to have an impact.
  • Fact: Some practical things that are important to consider are the use of laptops. If you use a laptop on your lap frequently, it’s recommended to put a pillow or book underneath the laptop to minimize the exposure to heat. Also, frequent hot tub use can be problematic and decrease the motility and functioning of sperm because of its extreme high temperatures.

Fertility Myth: You should have sex everyday when you’re trying to get pregnant.

  • Fact: “There is no difference in pregnancy rates for couples who have intercourse every other day vs. daily,” says Dr. Malik. The recommended time frame for intercourse during and around ovulation is every other day. Intercourse every day may make the process of getting pregnant more stressful and it can start to feel like a job, which can have an adverse effect on your relationship. If you have intercourse too frequently it can deplete sperm counts ultimately decreasing your chances of success.”

Fertility Myth: Stress has no impact on fertility.

  • Fact: There is no direct evidence to suggest stress has an impact on fertility, but being overly stressed can have an impact on other areas of your life that do play a role in fertility. Stress can have an impact on hormones, mood, sex drive, relationships, and overall well-being. A way to reduce stress is through exercise. Being physically active can release endorphins that make you feel good and help manage the stresses in your life. Another stress reliever that Drs. Greenhouse and Malik recommend to patients is massage therapy and acupuncture. Pulling Down the Moon, a Shady Grove Fertility partner, is a resource available to patients that takes a holistic approach to coping and reducing stress associated with conception.

To learn more about common fertility myths vs. fertility facts or to schedule an appointment with one of our 34 reproductive endocrinologists, please call 1-877-971-7755 or click here to fill out this brief form.   

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