Nineteen percent of US women ages 18 to 29 and 13 percent of men think they are infertile. But hold on! There's a problem with these numbers...
The problem? After countless studies and surveys tracking fertility in the US, the number of married women age 15 to 29 who actually experience infertility more accurately hovers somewhere around the 6 percent mark. In men, it could be as low as 2.5 percent, according to a survey conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The researchers suggest that men and women in this age group who appear to be underestimating their fertility could be doing so as the result of confusing messages young people receive about pregnancy and sex.
"Many erroneously believed they are infertile … due to some public health messages that point out pregnancy can occur after a single act of unprotected intercourse," says Chelsea Bernhardt Polis and Laurie Schwab Zabin, the study's two researchers. "This oversimplified message may inadvertently lead some to assume they are infertile if pregnancy did not occur after one or several acts of unprotected sex."
Time to brush up on your baby-making basics? If you and your partner are actively TTC right now, it may be a good idea to start tracking your menstrual and ovulation cycles to help you pinpoint your most fertile days. If you are a textbook 28-day cycle kind of gal, you may ovulate on day 14 of your cycle—and having sex every day or every other day beginning about five days before ovulation, and continuing through the day after ovulation, may be enough to do the trick!
There are other ways to track your ovulation, including tracking your basal body temperature and starting a fertility journal. But one thing is clear from this study: don't judge your fertility on just one night!