According to an article
published in Washington
Post on June 30, 2009, there is a simple solution to the increasing
rates of “infertility”: have more sex. While having more sex might logically
suggest having more babies, this advice contravenes the prevailing advice to
infertile couples. That is, doctors often suggest refraining from sex prior to
infertility treatments. The most logical response to all of this is, “Huh?”
Wouldn’t having more sex
seem to be the appropriate response to infertility? Perhaps, but the causes of
infertility are complex and complicated. The suggestion to abstain from sex
before treatments has two rationales: first, by delaying sex, a man might be
able to elevate his sperm count; second, pressure to have sex might heighten
anxiety in an already stressful environment.
The suggestion to have
more sex, however, has its own benefits: by decreasing the amount of time sperm
stays in the body, the chance of natural genetic degradation in the sperm also
decreases; and, simply, having more sex increases the chances of conception.
reproductive health thus find themselves in a bind. We do not want to shift the
blame and responsibility for infertility solely onto the behavior of individual
couples. We seek to make available infertility services for everyone who
desires them. At the same time, the no cost solution of simply having more sex
is an appealing option especially during this economic climate.
With all options
considered, the benefits of sex for infertile (and fertile) couples are
apparent, but we must keep in mind that sex as a “catch-all” solution fails to
completely address the complex nature of infertility. At the end of the day, we
need to continue looking for holistic responses to infertility, while also
providing couples with the needed support for their sexual and reproductive
health. So, should we encourage consensual sex? Yes! But, we cannot mistake it
for a silver bullet solution for infertility.
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