A population-based survey on family intentions and fertility awareness in women and men in the United Kingdom and Denmark
Background: Across several European countries family formation is increasingly postponed. The aims of the study were to investigate the desire for family building and fertility awareness in the UK and Denmark.
Methods: A population-based internet survey was used among women (n = 1,000) and men (n = 237) from the UK (40%) and Denmark (60%). Data covered socio-demographics, family formation, and awareness of female age-related fertility. Data analysis used descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis for studying associations between low fertility awareness and desired family formation.
Results: The majority of all participants desired two or three children. Two-thirds of the childless participants desired a first child at 30+ years, and one-fifth of the women and one-third of the men desired a last child at age 40. Overall, 83% of women and 73% of men were aware that female fertility starts to decline around 25–30 years. Men had significantly lower fertility awareness. Women who underestimated the impact of age on female fertility were significantly more likely to have a desire or attempted their first child at a higher age.
Conclusion: Even though the majority were aware of the age-related decrease in female fertility, most desired having children at an age when female fertility has declined. Women who were not sufficiently aware of the impact of advanced age were significantly more likely to have their first child at a higher age. There is a need for developing educational programs for women and men in order to increase the population’s knowledge of fertility and risk factors for infertility.
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