Our study, funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, aimed to assess the fertility intentions, knowledge and beliefs about delayed childbearing and assisted human reproduction (AHR) of childless women age 20-50. We also wanted to know childless women’s current and preferred source of reproductive/fertility information.
We developed the “Fertility Awareness Survey” in English (FAS; Daniluk, Cheung, & Koert, 2012) and also translated it into French. The FAS was posted online at www.laterchildbearing.com. A total of 3345 childless women completed our survey. These women were from all parts of Canada, and were a very diverse group (e.g., education, income, ethnicity, relationship status, etc.) After surveying women, we adapted the English version of the FAS for use with men and added a few more questions that were specific to male fertility (FAS-M).
Our findings were very interesting. Even though a majority of the women, and even the men, rated their fertility knowledge as pretty good, on average both sexes got the wrong answers to a majority of the knowledge questions. Of 16 knowledge items on the FAS, 50% or more of the women answered only 6 items correctly. Of 20 knowledge items on the FAS-M, 50% or more of the men answered only 4 items correctly. For example, many of the women and men weren’t aware of the fertility and health consequences of waiting until their 30s and 40s to try to produce a child. They didn’t realize that there are ways to test and preserve fertility, and they weren’t very informed about the limited effectiveness of reproductive technologies such as IVF, particularly as women and men get older.
Many of the respondents asked us where they could get the answers to the questions in our survey www.laterchildbearing.com. When asked how they would prefer to receive the kind of information that would help them in their fertility decision-making, the majority said the internet. That’s why we have developed this web site.