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Keywords:

  • fertility-awareness;
  • infertility;
  • midwifery;
  • natural family planning;
  • nursing;
  • primary health care;
  • sub-fertility

Abstract

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.