Author(s): Bunting L, Boivin J
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Previous research has highlighted a lack of fertility awareness in the general population especially in relation to the optimal fertile period during the menstrual cycle, incidence of infertility and duration of the reproductive life span. The current study assessed fertility knowledge more broadly in young people and investigated three areas of knowledge, namely risk factors associated with female infertility (e.g. smoking), beliefs in false fertility myths (e.g. benefits of rural living) and beliefs in the illusory benefits of healthy habits (e.g. exercising regularly) on female fertility. METHOD: The sample (n = 149) consisted of 110 female and 39 male postgraduate and undergraduate university students (average age 24.01, SD = 7.81). Knowledge scores were based on a simple task requiring the participants to estimate the effect a factor would have on a group of 100 women trying to get pregnant. Items (n = 21) were grouped according to three categories: risk factors (e.g. smoking; 7 items), myths (e.g. living in countryside; 7 items) and healthy habits (e.g. being normal weight; 7 items). RESULTS: An analysis of variance showed a significant main effect of factor (P < 0.001) and post hoc tests revealed that young people were significantly better at correctly identifying the effects of risks compared with null effects of healthy habits (P < 0.001) or fertility myths (P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Young people are aware that the negative lifestyle factors reduce fertility but falsely believe in fertility myths and the benefits of healthy habits. We suggest that the public education campaigns should be directed to erroneous beliefs about pseudo protective factors.
This article was published in Hum Reprod
and referenced in Journal of Womens Health Care