Conceiving of change: a brief intervention increases young adults' knowledge of fertility and the effectiveness of in vitro fertilization

After an educational intervention, university students in Australia had significantly increased knowledge of fertility and IVF effectiveness and significantly decreased desired ages at commencement and completion of childbearing.

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Aleena M. Wojcieszek, B.Psy.Sci., Rachel Thompson, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 2, Pages 523-529, August 2013



To examine the effectiveness of an educational intervention in increasing knowledge of fertility and the effectiveness of IVF among university students in Australia.


Two-group, pretest–posttest design.


A large metropolitan university in Queensland, Australia.


One hundred thirty-seven male and female undergraduate students.


Online information brochure on fertility (intervention group), or an online information brochure on home ownership (control group).

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Knowledge of fertility, knowledge of IVF effectiveness, and desired age at commencement and completion of childbearing, assessed immediately before and after exposure to the brochure.


Exposure to the brochure resulted in significant increases in knowledge of fertility and knowledge of IVF effectiveness in the intervention group and significant decreases in desired age at commencement and completion of childbearing. No changes were observed in the control group.


Educational intervention is a worthwhile endeavor that can increase knowledge of fertility and IVF effectiveness in the short-term. Further research is needed to evaluate whether increased knowledge persists and affects intentions in the longer-term. Because the determinants of timing of childbearing are highly multifactorial, fertility education should be paired with policies and practices that support men and women to make informed decisions about the timing of childbearing.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.