Natural fertility, infertility and the role of medically assisted reproduction: The knowledge amongst women of reproductive age in North Queensland

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Abstract

Background

The demand for medically assisted reproduction continues to increase, with more women encountering challenges with fertility. Due to misconceptions and gaps in knowledge, women are often unaware of the risks related to delayed childbearing. Lack of understanding of natural fertility, infertility and the role of medically assisted reproduction can lead to emotional suffering and changes in family plans.

Aims

To assess the understanding and knowledge that women of reproductive age in North Queensland have regarding natural fertility, infertility and the role of medically assisted reproduction.

Materials and Methods

Data were collected from 120 women (30 nurses, 30 teachers, 30 university students and 30 Technical and Further Education students) via the distribution of a structured questionnaire. Participants were surveyed in person about their personal plans and opinions, knowledge about natural fertility, infertility and medically assisted reproduction, and their preferred source of information.

Results

Participants demonstrated suboptimal knowledge levels throughout all sections of the questionnaire, in particular when asked about medically assisted reproduction. When asked to identify their main source of information, ‘friends and family’ was the most popular choice.

Conclusions

Results from this North Queensland study add to the existing international literature, highlighting the widespread nature of the problem. Without adequate understanding of natural fertility, the risks of infertility, and the role and limitations of medically assisted reproduction, women make uninformed decisions. Development of local reproductive health education programs need to be instigated in response.

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