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Fertil Steril. 2017 Oct;108(4):711-717. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2017.07.1158. Epub 2017 Sep 11.

Low fertility awareness in United States reproductive-aged women and medical trainees: creation and validation of the Fertility & Infertility Treatment Knowledge Score (FIT-KS).

Author information

1
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Hartsdale, New York. Electronic address: rashmi.kudesia@gmail.com.
2
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Hartsdale, New York.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To create, validate, and use a fertility awareness survey based on current U.S.

DATA:

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Not applicable.

PATIENT(S):

Phase 1 included U.S. women ages 18-45; phase 2 included female medical students and obstetrics and gynecology trainees at two urban academic programs.

INTERVENTION(S):

Survey including demographics, the Fertility & Infertility Treatment Knowledge Score (FIT-KS) instrument, and General Nutrition Knowledge Questionnaire.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Knowledge of natural fertility and infertility treatments.

RESULT(S):

The FIT-KS was validated through detailed item and validity analyses. In phase 1, 127 women participated; their median age was 31 years, and 43.7% had children. Their mean FIT-KS score was 16.2 ± 3.5 (55.9% correct). In phase 2, 118 medical trainees participated; their median age was 25 years, and 12.4% had children. Their mean FIT-KS score was 18.8 ± 2.1 (64.9% correct), with year of training correlating to a higher score (r=0.40). Participant awareness regarding lifestyle factors varied, but it was particularly low regarding the effects of lubricants. The majority underestimated the spontaneous miscarriage rate and overestimated the fecundability of 40-year-old women. There was general overestimation of success rates for assisted reproductive technologies, particularly among medical trainees.

CONCLUSION(S):

The FIT-KS is validated to current U.S. data for use in both general and medical populations as a quick assessment of fertility knowledge. The knowledge gaps demonstrated in this study correlate with national trends in delayed childbearing and time to initiate treatment. For medical trainees, these results raise concerns about the quality of fertility counseling they may be able to offer patients. Greater educational outreach must be undertaken to enhance fertility awareness.

KEYWORDS:

Fertility; fertility awareness; gynecology; infertility; medical education

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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