Eleanor Stevenson, associate professor; Lauren Gispanski, ABSN '16; Kristin Fields, ABSN '16; Maria Cappadora, ABSN '16; and Melissa Hurt, ABSN '15; recently published an article entitled "Knowledge and decision making about future fertility and oocyte cryopreservation among young women" in Human Fertility.
The objective was to examine what young graduate student women know about preserving fertility/oocyte cryopreservation, and which reproductive resources they use. A prospective, cross-sectional design was used and the study was conducted at a University on the East Coast of the United States. The participants were 278 female graduate students. Participants completed a survey with questions about demographics, fertility knowledge, oocyte cryopreservation, and sources of fertility information. Descriptive statistics were calculated for all variables. Participants had average knowledge about fertility (64% items correct). The most used fertility information source was formal education (87.1%), information to help make fertility decisions was gynaecologists (85.3%), and oocyte cryopreservation was media (63.4%). Only 26.6% reported being well informed about fertility. Although 93.9% had heard of oocyte cryopreservation, only 7.2% had considered its use. Most (74.9%) ranked fertility as important, though 83% would consider postponing family until career (85.2%) and relationship (85.2%) were established. Half felt that there was a social stigma surrounding oocyte cryopreservation, and 70.1% believed that the media gives the impression that motherhood is viable after 40 years old. Professionally motivated women receive the most information about fertility from formal, accuracy-driven sources (i.e. education, healthcare providers), but information about fertility preservation from media. They lack knowledge about fertility planning.