One in six Australian couples experience infertility. While infertility affects men and women equally, for women, there’s the additional hurdle of an age-related drop in fertility in their early to mid 30s.
A research team from the University of Newcastle, HMRI and the University of Western Sydney believe that mobile phone apps may be key to improving women’s fertility knowledge.
With the ability to track period cycles, length, heaviness and duration, these apps can highlight what often goes unnoticed by many.
In this study, 673 Australian women were surveyed and asked to provide information on a range of social factors and their fertility history. They were then quizzed with six questions about their knowledge of sexual health and fertility.
“We found that almost half the women surveyed were using a reproductive m-health app, and nearly 60% had a university-level education,” PhD Candidate Emma Ford said.
“However, we did find that their fertility knowledge was lacking, with women correctly answering only three of the six questions.”
Some women were only able to answer one question correctly, and three per cent of respondents were unable to answer any questions correctly.
“This study is the first of its kind to report an association between m-health apps use and fertility knowledge,” says project lead Dr Jessie Sutherland. “We’d like to explore how these apps could be further developed to improve awareness of sexual health and fertility.”
To do this, the team are looking to survey another 1000 – 2000 Australian women over the age of 18.
The article appears in the journal BioMed Central (BMC) Women's Health entitled: “The association between reproductive health smartphone applications and fertility knowledge of Australian women” Read more here.