Over 70% of women think mental health affects fertility, which is just not true

Millennials should really be called the “worry generation” due to all the things that keep them up at night. Talk of the uncertain future can send any Gen Y-er into a tizzy, and for women who want to have a family, their fertility plays a big role. But some things about fertility that women worry about isn’t even true: A new survey has revealed that most millennial women believe mental health affects their fertility, even though it doesn’t. 

Celmatix, a personalized medicine company that focuses on women’s health, conducted a survey among millennial women between the ages of 25 and 33 to find out their attitudes toward fertility and family planning. Among the 1,003 women surveyed, more than 70 percent believe anxiety can impact their ability to have children.

For context, the same percentage of women (a.k.a. the majority of them) believe that age and genetics have an equal impact on fertility as stress. They also believe that stress plays a bigger role with fertility than alcohol and drug use. The survey also found that women, most of whom said they wanted children at some point in their lives, are personally more afraid of mental health impacting their fertility than they are of contraceptive use.

With the way our society puts pressure on women to have children by a certain age or bad-things-will-happen, it’s not surprising it’s top of mind. But here’s the thing: There’s no proof or indication that mental health, specifically, impacts fertility. While fertility issues are a valid to address if you’re currently facing issues or working to get pregnant, there’s no link between anxiety and fertility exists.

A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility compared the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) among anxious or depressed women to their unstressed counterparts and found no difference. About 20 percent of women in the survey were also worried about the impact of hormonal birth control on fertility as well, despite it not having any impact on getting pregnant, either.

Millennials in general have enough to worry about. They spend about 20 percent of their entire year stressed out, a big stressor being romantic relationships. But millennial women seem to worry about much more, like out-earning their partner. The misconception that mental health can impact their fertility is just another worry they don’t need.

Trying to get pregnant can be an emotional process as is. Women thinking their mental state has any impact on it makes matters worse. Not fertility-wise — but for their own overall health. Anxiety, which is most rampant among U.S. women, has been proven to cause actual health issues — like lack of sleep and heart disease.

Hopefully, this survey can help set the record straight. Or maybe Lauri A. Pasch, Ph.D, a University of California, San Francisco psychologist and lead doctor in the Fertility and Sterility study, will: “I think we can safely say to women, ‘Stop worrying about being worried.’”

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