Fertility facts, figures and future plans: an online survey of university students.

By Prior E, Lew R, Hammarberg K, Johnson L.


Most people want and expect to have children but lack of awareness about the biological limits of fertility may reduce their chance of achieving their parenthood goals. We surveyed Australian university students' intentions and expectations for future parenthood, knowledge about fertility and preferred sources of fertility information. Male and female students (n = 1215) completed an anonymous 34-item online questionnaire. Fewer than 10% did not want children. Of those who wanted children, most (75%) wanted two or more. Although most participants wanted to have children within the biological limits of fertility they also expected to achieve many other life goals before becoming parents. Most underestimated the impact of female and male age on fertility (>75% and >95%, respectively). General practitioners and the Internet were the most preferred sources of fertility information. Almost all stated they would not feel uncomfortable if their general practitioner brought up the topic of future reproductive plans. To help women and men achieve their parenthood goals better education about fertility protection; proactive discussions with young people in primary care settings about reproductive life planning; and social policies and health promotion strategies that support becoming parents during the most fertile years are needed.