The study, published in the journal, Fertility and Sterility, was based on researchers quizzing 1000 women between the ages of 18 and 40 years old on basic knowledge of pregnancy, reproduction and sex. The study’s author, Lubna Pal, an associate professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at Yale University, was troubled by the poor results. Over 25% of the respondents were unaware that things like smoking, sexually transmitted diseases, obesity and irregular menstrual cycles could have an impact on their fertility. They were also confused about what ovulation means and when it occurs, and had many misconceptions about ways to increase their chances to conceive.
Only a small percentage, 10%, were aware that intercourse should occur before ovulation to improve chances for conception, and many women were relying on changes in their body temperature to predict their ovulation cycles. And while most of these women realise that age can have a negative impact on fertility, about 40% believed that their ovaries would continue to produce a supply of eggs throughout their span of reproductive years.
These findings are a warning that we need to reexamine and to improve the way that women are educated about their own fertility so they can have a clear understanding of issues that will impact their reproductive health.