Aims: To report a descriptive study of fertility-awareness knowledge, attitudes, and practice of infertile women seeking fertility assistance.
Background: Previous research has suggested that poor fertility-awareness may be a contributing cause of infertility among women seeking fertility assistance at assisted reproductive technology clinics. The actual practices and attitudes towards fertility-awareness in this particular group of women are unknown.
Design: A cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey.
Methods: The study was conducted over 6 months, from 2007-2008, of women on admission to two assisted reproductive technology clinics in a major city in Australia.
Results: Two hundred and four of 282 distributed questionnaires were completed (response rate = 72·3%). Eighty-three per cent had attempted conception for 1 year or more, 86·8% actively tried to improve their fertility-awareness from one or more sources of the information, 68·2% believed they had timed intercourse mainly within the fertile window of the menstrual cycle in their attempts at conception, but only 12·7% could accurately identify this window. Ninety-four per cent believe that a woman should receive fertility-awareness education when she first reports trouble conceiving to her doctor.
Conclusions: Most women seeking assistance at assisted reproductive technology clinics attempt timed intercourse within the fertile window of the menstrual cycle. However, few accurately identify this window, suggesting that poor fertility-awareness may be a contributing cause of infertility.
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.