A new study from the Yale School of Medicine showed that most women of childbearing age know very little about reproductive health, and 50 percent of women have never even raised questions about the subject with a medical professional. Although nearly half of women admitted to having concerns over their fertility, they were unaware of the negative effects of aging, STDS and bad health habits, and they were also uneducated on the benefits of good nutrition and multivitamins.
Sounds like most women need a Fertility 101! So I decided to to do the work for you and I asked Dr. Mark Surrey of the Southern California Reproductive Center to break down the basic fertility facts that all women need to know.
HelloBeautiful: Why do women know so little about childbearing?
Dr. MS: One possibility that women know so little about their reproductive health may be due to the lack of education they receive at an early age. There is also a discrepancy between the sex education curriculum and the new research now available about women’s health, such as the decline in egg quality with the increase in a woman’s age. Additionally, the education young women are receiving today does not necessarily include fertility, but only education about reproductive organs.
HB: If there was a curriculum based on childbearing, when would be the best time for women to learn this?
Dr. Mark Surrey: The best time for women to learn about reproductive health would be when they are in high school or at the latest college, but ideally when they are getting their initial sexual education.
HB: What are the biggest myths about bearing children?
Dr. MS: One of the biggest myths about getting pregnancy is that it’s a given assumption and that no one ever has a problem with it. Other myths include:
• Taking birth control for too long will cause infertility
• Infertility is always because of the woman
• If you are healthy & active, you will never have infertility problems
HB: How can women improve their reproductive health?
Dr. MS: One of the best ways a woman can be proactive about her reproductive health is by getting regular OBGYN exams to include pelvic health exams and hormone levels. The AMH (Anti-Mullerian Hormone) test, which determines a woman’s egg reserve, is also a good indicator of her reproductive health.
HB: At what age should women really examine whether or not they want children?
Dr. MS: Certainly by 30 years old, a woman should know if they want children. If someone hasn’t figured it out by the time they are 32 or 33, they should look into fertility preservation, or egg freezing, to leave the option open down the road. Unfortunately, the general public believes that the number is a lot later in life, like 42 or 43, but it’s really earlier, which is another common misconception.
HB: What are the child-bearing options outside of sexual reproduction should women explore?
Dr. MS: Fertility preservation, such as egg freezing or Ovum cryopreservation are other options women can explore. Other methods of sexual reproduction range from IUI (Intra Uterine Insemination) to IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), Surrogacy and even egg or sperm donation, all of which we perform at Southern California Reproductive Center.
Do you feel well-informed about childbearing now?