When's the Best Time to Start a Family?

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When's the Best Time to Start a Family?
Figuring out when to have kids. Inside are the biological myths and realities about conception.

III Misconception: "Just relax and you'll get pregnant."

Reality: There is no convincing scientific evidence to show that stress leads to infertility. Anyone struggling to conceive has probably been advised to "just relax," by well-meaning friends and family. However, this suggestion has no basis in science and can be hurtful, as it implies that the woman’s actions or frame of mind are causing her infertility—that it's her fault.

"There really is no difference in fertility if the woman is extremely anxious, if she's a trader on the stock exchange, or if she's meditating in Tibet," says Dr. Copperman. There is the same chance of an egg and sperm getting together, the same chance of a pregnancy ensuing, the same chance of a miscarriage.

IV Misconception: "Birth-control pills decrease fertility."

Reality: Birth-control pills have not been shown to decrease fertility; actually, the pill can help protect fertility and may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by up to 40 percent. Pill users may experience a decrease in the likelihood of endometriosis and tubal diseases, as well as the alleviation of some symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome—all of which can lead to infertility. Also, recent studies suggest that in the couple of months right after a woman stops taking the pill she may experience a boost in her fertility; i.e., this is a good time to try. However, the pill does not enable a woman to stockpile eggs for future use.

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