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Men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility.
Hum Reprod Update. 2017 07 01; 23(4):458-480.HR

Abstract

BACKGROUND

The increasingly common practice in high-income countries to delay childbearing to the fourth and fifth decades of life increases the risk of involuntary childlessness or having fewer children than desired. Older age also increases the risk of age-related infertility, the need for ART to conceive, and obstetric and neonatal complications. Existing research relating to childbearing focusses almost exclusively on women, and in public discourse declining fertility rates are often assumed to be the result of women delaying childbearing to pursue other life goals such as a career and travel. However, evidence suggests that the lack of a partner or a partner willing to commit to parenthood is the main reason for later childbearing.

OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE

To better understand men's contributions to childbearing decisions and outcomes, the literature pertaining to men's fertility-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours was reviewed.

SEARCH METHODS

The electronic databases of Medline, Embase and PsycINFO were searched to identify investigations of men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility, infertility, reproductive health or childbearing using relevant fertility keyword search terms. Studies were included if they had investigated factors associated with men's fertility-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, had been conducted in a high-income country and were published in an English language peer-reviewed journal between January 2005 and August 2016.

OUTCOMES

The search yielded 1349 citations. Of these, 47 papers representing 43 unique studies were included in the review. Where response rate was reported, it ranged between 13 and 94%. Studies varied in terms of research design; inclusion and exclusion criteria; recruitment strategies; adequacy of sample size; recruitment and retention rates and data collection tools. However, findings were consistent and indicate that men almost universally value parenthood, want and expect to become fathers, and aspire to have at least two children. Yet most men have inadequate knowledge about the limitations of female and male fertility and overestimate the chance of spontaneous and assisted conception. Perceptions of ideal circumstances in which to have children included being in a stable and loving relationship, having completed studies, secured a permanent job and a dependable income, having achieved personal maturity, and having a partner who desires children and is 'suitable' as a potential co-parent. Although all studies were conducted in high-income countries, between-country social and cultural differences may have influenced the findings relating to attitudes.

WIDER IMPLICATIONS

Men aspire to parenthood as much as women do but have limited knowledge about the factors that influence fertility. The gap between ideal biological and ideal social age for having children appears to be widening, narrowing the time frame in which parenthood can be achieved. This may lead to unfulfilled parenthood aspirations. The findings can inform government policies and public education strategies aimed to support childbearing during the most fertile years, reduce the personal and societal cost of infertility and ART use, and allow people to fulfil their parenthood goals.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Jean Hailes Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Level 2, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia. Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority, Level 30, 570 Bourke Street, Melbourne 3000, Australia.Andrology Australia, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Level 2, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia.Andrology Australia, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Level 2, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia.Jean Hailes Research Unit, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Level 2, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia.Andrology Australia, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Level 2, 553 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia. Hudson Institute of Medical Research, 27-31 Wright Street, Clayton 3168, Australia.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article
Review

Language

eng

PubMed ID

28333354

Citation

Hammarberg, Karin, et al. "Men's Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours Relating to Fertility." Human Reproduction Update, vol. 23, no. 4, 2017, pp. 458-480.
Hammarberg K, Collins V, Holden C, et al. Men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility. Hum Reprod Update. 2017;23(4):458-480.
Hammarberg, K., Collins, V., Holden, C., Young, K., & McLachlan, R. (2017). Men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility. Human Reproduction Update, 23(4), 458-480. https://doi.org/10.1093/humupd/dmx005
Hammarberg K, et al. Men's Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviours Relating to Fertility. Hum Reprod Update. 2017 07 1;23(4):458-480. PubMed PMID: 28333354.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility. AU - Hammarberg,Karin, AU - Collins,Veronica, AU - Holden,Carol, AU - Young,Kate, AU - McLachlan,Robert, PY - 2016/12/20/received PY - 2017/02/26/accepted PY - 2017/3/24/pubmed PY - 2017/10/27/medline PY - 2017/3/24/entrez KW - attitudes KW - behaviours KW - childbearing KW - fertility KW - knowledge KW - male KW - parenthood SP - 458 EP - 480 JF - Human reproduction update JO - Hum. Reprod. Update VL - 23 IS - 4 N2 - BACKGROUND: The increasingly common practice in high-income countries to delay childbearing to the fourth and fifth decades of life increases the risk of involuntary childlessness or having fewer children than desired. Older age also increases the risk of age-related infertility, the need for ART to conceive, and obstetric and neonatal complications. Existing research relating to childbearing focusses almost exclusively on women, and in public discourse declining fertility rates are often assumed to be the result of women delaying childbearing to pursue other life goals such as a career and travel. However, evidence suggests that the lack of a partner or a partner willing to commit to parenthood is the main reason for later childbearing. OBJECTIVE AND RATIONALE: To better understand men's contributions to childbearing decisions and outcomes, the literature pertaining to men's fertility-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours was reviewed. SEARCH METHODS: The electronic databases of Medline, Embase and PsycINFO were searched to identify investigations of men's knowledge, attitudes and behaviours relating to fertility, infertility, reproductive health or childbearing using relevant fertility keyword search terms. Studies were included if they had investigated factors associated with men's fertility-related knowledge, attitudes and behaviours, had been conducted in a high-income country and were published in an English language peer-reviewed journal between January 2005 and August 2016. OUTCOMES: The search yielded 1349 citations. Of these, 47 papers representing 43 unique studies were included in the review. Where response rate was reported, it ranged between 13 and 94%. Studies varied in terms of research design; inclusion and exclusion criteria; recruitment strategies; adequacy of sample size; recruitment and retention rates and data collection tools. However, findings were consistent and indicate that men almost universally value parenthood, want and expect to become fathers, and aspire to have at least two children. Yet most men have inadequate knowledge about the limitations of female and male fertility and overestimate the chance of spontaneous and assisted conception. Perceptions of ideal circumstances in which to have children included being in a stable and loving relationship, having completed studies, secured a permanent job and a dependable income, having achieved personal maturity, and having a partner who desires children and is 'suitable' as a potential co-parent. Although all studies were conducted in high-income countries, between-country social and cultural differences may have influenced the findings relating to attitudes. WIDER IMPLICATIONS: Men aspire to parenthood as much as women do but have limited knowledge about the factors that influence fertility. The gap between ideal biological and ideal social age for having children appears to be widening, narrowing the time frame in which parenthood can be achieved. This may lead to unfulfilled parenthood aspirations. The findings can inform government policies and public education strategies aimed to support childbearing during the most fertile years, reduce the personal and societal cost of infertility and ART use, and allow people to fulfil their parenthood goals. SN - 1460-2369 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/28333354/Men's_knowledge_attitudes_and_behaviours_relating_to_fertility_ L2 - https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/humupd/dmx005 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -