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Age, more than health, crucial to fertility

Jeremy Nuttall

By Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours Vancouver

A new study by the University of B.C. shows much of the public has misconceptions about fertility, such as thinking physical fitness is more crucial than age. (FOTOLIA)

A new study by the University of B.C. shows much of the public has misconceptions about fertility, such as thinking physical fitness is more crucial than age. (FOTOLIA)

Misty Busch overcame infertility at 26 with the help of scientific treatment. Older couples might not be so lucky, says the infertility awareness advocate, especially those who delay having kids without doing their homework and wake up to discover they’re infertile.

“You don’t realize the impact of what delaying child-bearing can have,” said Busch, with the Infertility Awareness Association of Canada.

A new University of B.C. study found many couples lack basic fertility knowledge, speaking to nearly 4,000 childless men and women between 20 and 50 across Canada.

The study asked 3,300 women 16 questions related to fertility, but only slightly above 50% were able to answer more than six questions correctly. Men were asked 20 questions, but only about 50% answered more than four questions correctly.

“They believed that if you stayed in good shape and you were healthy that that is far more important than your age when it came to fertility,” said lead author Dr. Judith Daniluk. “Not true.”

Daniluk said people seem to think their fertility will be waiting for them when they decide to have children, turning to expensive treatments like in vitro fertilization when they can’t conceive.

Dr. Albert Yuzpe of the Olive Fertility Centre said about 20% of his 2,500 annual patients are women older than 40. Yupze said many misconceptions about fertility come from the media’s glorification of older celebrities having children.

“The public doesn’t understand the majority of these women aren’t using their own eggs to get pregnant,” said Yuzpe. “There may be some misleading by some of the media hype that’s associated with these well-known people.”

Daniluk said people entering their 30s who aren’t ready for kids should have their fertility checked and look into freezing eggs and sperm if necessary.

 

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