Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding conception and fertility: a population-based survey among reproductive-age United States women

Fertil Steril. 2014 Mar;101(3):767-74. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2013.12.006. Epub 2014 Jan 30.


Objective: To assess overall knowledge, attitudes, and practices related to conception and fertility among reproductive-age women in the United States.

Design: Online survey of a cross-sectional sample of 1,000 women.

Setting: United States, March 2013.

Patient(s): Women aged 18-40 years.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding selected topics in reproductive health.

Result(s): Forty percent of women across all age groups expressed concerns about their ability to conceive. Yet one-third of women were unaware of adverse implications of sexually transmitted infections, obesity, or irregular menses for procreative success, and one-fifth were unaware of the effects of aging. Approximately 40% were unfamiliar with the ovulatory cycle. Overall, younger women (18-24 years) demonstrated less knowledge regarding conception, fertility, and ovulation, whereas older women tended to believe in common myths and misconceptions. Respondents in all age groups identified women's health care providers (75%) and Web sites (40%) as top sources of reproductive health-related information; however, engagement with providers on specific factors affecting fertility is sparse.

Conclusion(s): Knowledge regarding ovulation, fertility, and conception is limited among this sample of reproductive-age US women. Future initiatives should prioritize improved provider engagement and accurate information dissemination in Web-based venues.

Keywords: Knowledge; conception; fertility; ovulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection / methods
  • Female
  • Fertility* / physiology
  • Fertilization* / physiology
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Reproductive Health* / trends
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult