UK women are feeling ‘concern and worry’ in the face of conflicting fertility information, according to new data released by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).
Four out of five (86%) UK women say that information from different sources seems contradictory, while more than three quarters (76%) are not sure if fertility information is impartial and unbiased.
The survey findings also reveal that three out of five UK women (62%) report feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of advice on offer.
Almost half of UK women report they have worried about their own fertility (49%), with a quarter (25%) of 18-24 year-olds currently concerned. The RCOG argues that women need to feel confident that they can trust the quality and effectiveness of the advice they are receiving at this often challenging stage of their lives.
The RCOG also asked UK women about the action they would consider taking to address their fertility concerns:
- One in nine women (11%) say they have frozen or considered freezing their eggs, with a further 34% saying they would consider this in the future.
- More than two in five women aged 18-24 (44%) said they would consider freezing their eggs in the future.
- A fifth (20%) of women have used a fertility app, with almost a third (31%) saying they would consider using one in the future.
- 16% have used an ovulation monitor or ovulation testing kit, one in nine (11%) have considered using one and a third (33%) would consider using one in the future.
- More than a quarter of women (28%) would consider fertility coaching.
- 18% of women would consider seeking treatment abroad.
To address these concerns, the first ever Fertility Forum information day will take place at the RCOG this month, bringing together experts, professionals and the public.
The Forum will provide women, their partners and those who want to find out more about fertility with access to experts who will provide accurate, evidence-based and unbiased information at this event on Saturday 30 March.
Organised by the RCOG, the UK’s fertility regulator the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority (HFEA) and British Fertility Society (BFS), in partnership with experts in the field, the Forum brings the public and professionals together for a full day of information sessions and discussion about fertility.
Professor Lesley Regan, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Trying for a baby can be an incredibly stressful time for some. This new data echoes what we have been hearing from women and patients for many years. It is vital that women and couples have access to accurate, evidence-based, impartial and expert advice which is why we have brought together renowned experts, patients and partners together in one location for our very first Fertility Forum event.”
Sally Cheshire, Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), said: “As the fertility regulator, we collect data about every treatment cycle across the UK to provide patients with clear, unbiased information and to prepare them for what they will face at their clinic.
“I know from personal experience as a former patient how difficult it is to find impartial, evidence-based information so that you can make informed choices about the right fertility treatment for you. The HFEA is delighted to be joining the Fertility Forum, giving patients the opportunity to ask questions, hear from experts and find out about our latest data on all aspects of fertility treatment and donation.”