Women's awareness and perceptions of delay in childbearing

Fertil Steril. 2008 Oct;90(4):1036-42. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2007.07.1338. Epub 2007 Oct 1.


Objective: To explore women's awareness of issues associated with delayed childbearing, including its social and medical implications and the limitations of available treatment.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: University-based tertiary care clinics.

Patient(s): Three hundred sixty-two women attending a subfertility clinic and 362 pregnant women.

Intervention(s): A precoded questionnaire.

Main outcome measure(s): Awareness and perceptions of issues surrounding delay in childbearing.

Result(s): Subfertile women were, on average, 3.3 years older (95% confidence interval 2.5-4.1) and more likely to have tried for their first pregnancy after the age of 30 years (37.3% vs. 24.6%). Despite awareness of the impact of age on fertility, 85% of the subfertile group expected IVF to overcome the effects of age compared with 77% of the pregnant population. Knowledge about age-related obstetric risks, such as trisomy 21, was similar in both groups (86.3% vs. 85%). Almost all participants (94.5%) believed that women should be informed about the implications of delaying childbearing at an early age.

Conclusion(s): Women are largely aware of the risks and complications of delaying childbirth, but erroneously believe that IVF can reverse the effects of age. There is a need to provide accurate information in the community.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Attitude to Health
  • Awareness
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Fertilization in Vitro / statistics & numerical data
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology*
  • Infertility, Female / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Complications / psychology*
  • Reproductive Behavior / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Women's Health*