A new study appearing in the U.K. journal Human Reproduction says that university-aged young adults who plan to have children don’t know the facts about how fertility declines with age, and overestimate the success rates of assisted-reproductive technologies they may be counting on as a back-up plan.
The study showed that 67 per cent of women and 81 per cent of men inaccurately believe that female fertility markedly declines after age 40, with 31 per cent of women and 52 per cent of men believing this decline takes place after the age of 44. The reality: Women start to experience a marked decrease in fertility from age 35-39.
Fifty-two per cent of women and 64 per cent of men also overestimated the chances that a couple undergoing one treatment of in vitro fertilization would be successful 40-100 per cent of the time – the actual success rate is 30 per cent. After age 44, the success rate is 3 per cent.
A Canadian study in 2010 found similar patterns among Canadian women, who overestimated women’s fertility at age 35 and older.