Young Women and Men

University-aged young adults don’t know the facts about how fertility declines with age

A new study published in the journal, Human Reproduction, suggests that university-aged young adults are unaware of age-related fertility decline, over-estimate the success rates of assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF, and see these treatments as available back-up plans if they have difficulty becoming pregnant.

The study surveyed 246 American male and female university students. Results showed that 67% of women and 81% of men inaccurately believed that females experience a marked decrease in fertility after age 40, with 31% of women and 52% of men believing the decline happens after age 44. In actuality, females experience a marked decrease in their fertility between ages 35-39.

Over half of the sample (52% women, 64% men) overestimated the success rates of assisted reproductive technologies (e.g., IVF) in producing a pregnancy.

Why the widespread misinformation? Some experts think that family doctors aren’t informing patients about fertility decline until they have fertility problems. Also there are many stories in the media of celebrities having babies at later ages, which add to the perception that women can become pregnant easily at any age. Some say that people have too much faith in technology being available to “work miracles”. However, undergoing fertility treatments comes with its own challenges, such as the time commitment, physical discomfort, cost, and emotional burden.

Experts and members from the general public suggest that the “cold hard facts” or education regarding fertility issues is necessary to help men and women make decisions that are based on accurate information rather than inaccurate perceptions.

Our website,, aims to meet this need by providing men and women with up-to-date, reliable information so they can make informed fertility and family building decisions.

For more on The Globe and Mail article that summarizes this research, click here:

The clock is ticking: Female fertility declines earlier than you think [The Globe and Mail].

To read the Human Reproduction research article, click here. 


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