Friday, 16 June 2017

Men’s Health Week: Men want to be fathers but over-estimate their fertility

Men’s Health Week: June 12th – 18th 2017

Men’s Health Week is an international initiative started in 1994 to draw attention to preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment among men and boys. This year’s theme is “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind: Keeping the Balance” and it explores the ways men balance physical and emotional health in a hectic world.

Dr Karin Hammarberg and colleagues at the Jean Hailes Research Unit published a paper looking at men’s knowledge about fertility that was published in Human Reproduction Update this year. 

Karin says,

“There is a well-documented trend to delaying having children until later in life. However, as a person ages it becomes harder to conceive, both naturally and via assisted methods like IVF.  And it’s not only the age of the woman that matters, men’s fertility also declines with age. Much has been said about the reasons for delaying having children and most is directed to women who are said to choose to have children later so that they can advance their career and travel etc. So, we were interested to know what the research tells us about men’s role in childbearing decisions.”

The researchers searched scientific databases for research papers published in the last ten years that looked at men’s knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility, infertility, reproductive health or childbearing. They found 47 relevant papers from around the world and after reviewing them all they concluded that men almost universally value fatherhood, want and expect to become fathers, and aspire to have at least two children. Despite this, men have generally low awareness about the limitations of both female and male fertility and overestimate the chances of conceiving naturally and with IVF.

Strategies to improve men’s knowledge about fertility could help them and their partners achieve their dreams of  parenthood.

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