Many do not understand fertility decline

  • Deborah Condon

Many people may be delaying having children without fully understanding how much fertility is impacted by age, a new study suggests.

Researchers in Australia questioned college students about their plans to have children. They found that, on average, the students planned to start their families at the age of 29 and finish having children by the age of 34.

However, they were then shown a simple online brochure that included facts about age-related fertility decline and IVF (in vitro fertilisation) success rates.

When asked the same questions again, the students lowered the age they said intended to start having children, to 28, and also lowered the age they wanted to finish having children by, to 33.

According to the researchers, this study shows that when it comes to fertility issues, a little knowledge can have a big impact on family planning.

"This study suggests that many people may be delaying having children without fully understanding fertility decline, and with unrealistically optimistic views of the 'safety net' provided by reproductive technology," they commented.

They added that increasing awareness of fertility issues ‘is essential for ensuring young women and men can make informed reproductive decisions and could ultimately have a big impact on society'.

Details of these findings are published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility.


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