Childless women’s knowledge of fertility and assisted human reproduction: identifying the gaps

An online questionnaire to assess the fertility and assisted human reproduction knowledge of 3,345 childless women found significant knowledge gaps that may undermine informed childbearing decision making.

Judith C. Daniluk, Ph.D., Emily Koert, M.A., Anthony Cheung, M.B.B.S., M.P.H.
Volume 97, Issue 2 , Pages 420-426, February 2012

To determine the knowledge about fertility and assisted human reproduction (AHR) treatments of a large sample of childless women.

Self-report questionnaire comprising two self-ratings of current fertility and AHR knowledge, and 16 knowledge questions related to fertility and AHR.


A total of 3,345 childless women between the ages of 20 and 50.


Main Outcome Measure(s):
Knowledge of fertility and AHR.

The majority of participants rated themselves as having some knowledge or being fairly knowledgeable about fertility and AHR. However, on the 16 knowledge questions, overall knowledge was low, with 50% or more of the sample answering only 6 of 16 questions correctly.

The data suggest that the women in the study have no coherent body of knowledge regarding age-related fertility and AHR treatment options. With an increasing number of women electing to delay childbearing, there is a critical need for public education regarding age-related fertility declines and the availability, costs, and limitations of AHR. This study offers important mental health contributions to infertility prevention and public health education efforts.

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