What do we know about reproduction?

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 05/18/2015

Nowadays, Human Reproduction has become a controversial topic. Almost half the pregnancies that occur today are unplanned, while many women willing to have a baby find often several limitations to get pregnant. Somewhat paradoxical, isn’t it?

We think we have enough knowledge about this topic but the truth is that we actually don’t. Scientists from Yale University have published in the Fertility and Sterility magazine the impressive, surprising results obtained from a study carried out within the USA. The study was about the access to education regarding Human Reproduction in the country, a case that can be directly transposed to the situation in Spain. Researchers have conducted a survey concerning issues related to both reproduction and fertility. The outcome? The majority of respondents failed.

On the one hand, there is a large proportion of the population who are unfamiliar with the topic or have serious doubts about the different ways through which a woman can get pregnant. Despite scientists have tried to deny it, about 40% of women of childbearing age do believe still today that certain sexual positions as well as engaging into sexual intercourse more than once a day favour fertilization and embryo implantation.

Unplanned pregnancy is as distressing as being unable to get pregnant. Many women become pregnant because they do not know it can happen and others because they are unfamiliar with the factors that are against them. These are two sides of the same coin: a lack of education regarding reproductive health.

Today’s women delay having children until they reach financial and employment stability as well as sentimental attachment. However, according to the surveys carried out in the above mentioned study, 70% of women under 24 years old admitted being unfamiliar with the fact that the likelihood of your offspring having some gene alteration increases with age and that about 40% of interviewed women did not know that the ovarian reserve is limited, i.e. they thought that ovaries produce eggs throughout the whole reproductive life. All in all, they did not know that the ovaries keep on running out of eggs gradually until menopause.

The following are other alarming results also obtained from the above mentioned survey:

  • About 70% of women interviewed were unfamiliar with the fact that having suffered from any sexually transmitted disease means greater chances for suffering some kind of infertility problem.
  • Less than 10% knew that engaging into sexual intercourse is more beneficial before ovulation and not after it in order to increase the chances for pregnancy.
  • More than 25% were unaware with the fact that experiencing painful menstrual periods could be related with future fertility-related problems.
  • A high proportion stated being unfamiliar with the fact that tobacco, alcohol, and other toxic substances adversely affect pregnancy.

The need of Reproductive Health education

A few decades ago, awareness regarding sexually transmitted diseases resulted in very significant progress in the field of sexual health and contraception. However, Reproductive Health education was left apart during this period.

Best proof of it can be found among the results obtained from this study. It is important and totally necessary to develop teaching strategies which gather the most important aspects of ovulation, fertility, infertility, conception, and assisted reproductive treatments.

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 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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