A new University of British Columbia study has found most B.C. couples trying to conceive don’t know how many eggs are in their basket.
According to Dr. Judith Daniluk, Clinical Psychology Professor at UBC, a lack of fertility knowledge is exacerbating the growing trend of delayed childbearing.
“Some people don’t realize that at 42 their eggs are 42 years old,” Daniluk said. “We’re born with all the eggs we’ll ever have.You can be in the best shape you’ve ever been in your life, but your eggs are as old as you are.”
Daniluk has spent many years counselling people who struggle with fertility issues.
“There not old by any stretch but we’re seeing more and more people delaying having children and as a consequence are having to turn to treatments like invetro fertilization which are very expensive and actually out of the reach for an awful lot of people, economically as well as geographically.”
She’s worked with couples who have remortgaged their homes to try and achieve a pregnancy, and some times the success rates are low.
“It’s one of those things where we can spend lots of money providing treatments and I think we should, but on the other hand people don’t have the information they should.”
Daniluk and her research team conducted a national study with approximately 3,300 childless women and 600 childless men.
“Every province was represented, urban and rural, demographically it was really broad from people with low socioeconomic status to high economic status. Educational levels from elementary school right up to PhDs.”
The research revealed the following key knowledge gaps: most respondents incorrectly think that for women over 30, overall health and fitness level is a better indicator of fertility than age.
Fifty-one per cent of women and 66 per cent of men don’t realize that a woman’s eggs are as old as she is, and fewer than half know that a man’s age is an important factor in a couple’s chances of becoming pregnant.
The findings were published in academic journals and are on a website – www.MyFertilityChoices.com.
Daniluk said they realized people need reliable sources of information.
The intent of the website is to put information out in a way that’s accessible, current and accurate to help people make decisions about having children, without making people have children before their ready, but also acknowledging that decisions should not be based on misinformation.
An author and reproductive health counsellor, Dr. Daniluk is available to explain why a lack of information is causing an increasing number of British Columbians to delay childbearing.
“I had no idea when I elected to do this how much work it would be but we’re trying to get the word out so people have the information.”