Misperceptions about Fertility
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Studies conducted among college students in Sweden (2005), Canada (2010), and Israel and the United States (2012) all point to a pervasive lack of knowledge about women’s fertility and overestimations of the success rates of reproductive technologies. (For more information go to: http://www.geneticsandsociety.org/article.php?id=5928)
- In the survey of undergraduates in the United States conducted in 2012, two- thirds of women and 81 percent of men believed that female fertility did not markedly decline until after the age of 40.
- One-third of women and nearly half of men believed this marked decline occurred after the age of 44—an age at which an IVF cycle is least effective.
- A full 64 percent of men and 53 percent of women surveyed overestimated the chances of couples conceiving a child following only one IVF treatment.
- The study concluded that “the discrepancy between participant’s perceived knowledge and what is known regarding the science of reproduction is alarming and could lead to involuntary childlessness.”
- Of the 400 women and men surveyed in Sweden, only a small minority knew that women’s fertility declined after the age of thirty, or that it rapidly declined in their late thirties.
- A full one-third of the Swedish men thought a woman’s fertility did not sharply decline until after the age of forty-five.
- The Canadian study of undergraduate women found that “they significantly overestimated the chance of pregnancy at all ages and were not conscious of the steep rate of decline for women in their thirties.”
- In Israel, where 4 percent of all children are born as a result of ART compared to 1 percent in the United States, college-age participants were “overly optimistic about women’s capacity to conceive, not only naturally, but also with the aid of IVF.”
A November 2012 study conducted by the University of California San Francisco revealed that half of women who became pregnant through IVF after age 40 said they were "shocked" to discover they needed fertility treatments.
- 44 percent reported being ‘shocked’ and ‘alarmed’ to discover that their understandings of the rapidity of age-related reproductive decline were inaccurate.
- 28 percent said that incorrect information from friends, doctors or the media reinforced the idea that older women could easily become pregnant.
- 31 percent said they expected to get pregnant without difficulty at age 40.
For more information go to: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23203214
A 2012 study conducted by the University of Houston Law School surveyed 373 fertility clinic websites that were also members of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).
- The SART mandates that clinics providing program statistics on their website note that comparisons of success rates "may not be meaningful" because patients and treatment approaches may vary from clinic to clinic. According to the report, 71 percent of clinics had that statement on their websites, but 29 percent did not.
- None of the 372 clinics surveyed disclosed how they calculated their success rates.
- Only 56 percent of the 372 clinics posted their success rate on their “Home” or “About” pages.
- Only 55 percent made any mention of price.
- Nearly 80 percent of the clinics' websites had photos of babies on their homepage.
- 97.28 percent of the websites that contain pictures of babies feature white babies, and 62.93 percent have pictures of only white babies.
- Thirty percent used the word "dream" and nearly 9 percent used the word "miracle."
For more information go to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/06/fertility-clinics_n_2245074.html#slide=382524
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