In a poll conducted for the national infertility awareness group RESOLVE, women between ages 25-35 who had spoken to their doctors about fertility concerns failed to correctly answer questions about basic fertility facts. Fewer than half of the 1,000 women who took the poll, MSNBC.com reports, answered 7 out of 10 questions correctly.
The questions included how long it takes to get pregnant (an average of 5 months for a healthy 20-year-old woman) and how fertility declines with age (at age 30, a woman has a 20 percent chance of conceiving each month; at 40, that drops to 5 percent). From MSNBC:
In a country where sex education focuses primarily on avoiding pregnancy and preventing sexually transmitted diseases, most women believe that having a baby is inevitably easy.
But that neglects the reality that infertility affects some 7.3 million women in the United States, or 12 percent of the child-bearing female population, and about 1 in 8 couples, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. After about age 35, fertility plummets, Schoolcraft said.
So when women decide they want to get pregnant and can't, they're stunned. Some of the shock is because of advances in health and beauty that allow women to look — and feel — younger, even as their reproductive systems march on.
"People kind of think now at 40 what they used to think at 30," [reproductive endocrinologist Dr. William] Schoolcraft said. "People do yoga and they run and they do all these healthy things. They assume that means 'I'm not aging.' But their eggs don't know that."