25 May 2014

Survey reveals lack of fertility awareness amongst women

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Queensland Fertility Group

Australia’s leading fertility specialists are encouraging women to get the facts on fertility, after a national survey revealed more than half of respondents had surprising misconceptions about the impact of age on a woman’s fertility and chance of IVF success.

The study of 1,000 Australian women of reproductive age commissioned by Queensland Fertility Group, Melbourne IVF, and IVFAustralia part of the country’s largest IVF group Virtus Health found 64% of respondents didn’t know their fertility rapidly declines from the age of 36. Of the respondents, 60% also believed infertility in their 40s would be easily resolved if they underwent IVF.

Dr David Molloy, Medical Director at Queensland Fertility Group said that the results show there is a critical information gap amongst women of reproductive age, particularly about how a woman’s age and egg quality directly affects their fertility and chance of IVF success.

“These survey results confirm that many women mistakenly believe they can simply delay motherhood until their late 30s, and that if needed they can rely on IVF to conceive well into their forties.

“We cannot reverse or mitigate the effects of aging.  As a woman ages so do her eggs, and it is not possible to improve the quality of a woman’s eggs which impacts her chance of conceiving both spontaneously and with IVF.

“A woman at 30 has a 20% chance of falling pregnant naturally each month, compared to less than 5% chance once she reaches her 40s.  Although IVF is very effective and may dramatically improve a woman’s chances of having a baby – it is not a guarantee.

"Every day women come to me for help, and these survey results are not a real surprise.  Many women trying to conceive in their late 30s and early 40s are not prepared for it to be so challenging to conceive.  I am very aware of how important it is to educate women about their fertility, and that is why Queensland Fertility Group is promoting this important education initiative.”

The majority of survey participants stated they rely on the internet for advice on women’s health concerns therefore Queensland Fertility Group has developed a short animation ‘The facts about female fertility' at www.youtube.com/qldfertilitygroup  that creatively illustrates the effect of age and lifestyle factors on a woman’s fertility.
The animation is part of a national fertility awareness campaign, get the facts on fertility, in partnership with IVFAustralia and Queensland Fertility Group aiming to update all Australian women about the key factors that affect their ability to conceive now and in the future.

Other interesting findings include:

  • One in five women (20%) incorrectly believed it only became difficult for a woman to fall pregnant naturally in her late 40’s.
  • While 80% knew a pregnant woman in her late 30’s and early 40’s had an increased risk of having a baby with chromosomal abnormalities, 42% did not know this age group also has an increased risk of miscarriage.
  • 92% of women knew that being overweight could affect their fertility, and 74% knew that excessive alcohol consumption could also affect their fertility.

Dr Molloy said for that for many, high school was the last time they received any education about their fertility.

“These survey results demonstrate that women are well informed  regarding lifestyle factors such as weight and alcohol, however the critical link between age and egg quality seems to have been diluted due to an  increase in media stories about celebrities having babies in their mid-40s and even later.

While we can’t do negate the impact age that has on a woman’s fertility, we can provide women with the facts about how their age and health affects fertility, so that even if they’re not planning to start their family now, they make informed decisions about their future.”

For further information visit www.qfg.com.au/fertility

The survey of 1038 Australian women aged 18-55 was conducted by Research Now, April 2014.

For further information or interviews with Dr David Molloy, Medical Director at Queensland Fertility Group, please Contact Us.

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