Knowledge gaps in the understanding of fertility among non-medical graduate students

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VOLUME 1, ISSUE 3, P177-185, DECEMBER 01, 2020


Lia A. Bernardi, M.D., M.S.C.I., Marissa Luck, M.D., Moira A. Kyweluk, Ph.D., M.P.H., Eve C. Feinberg, M.D.



To assess knowledge of female and male fertility among students enrolled in a Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.


Web-based cross-sectional survey.


Academic setting.


Not applicable.



Main Outcome Measure(s)

Knowledge of how female and male age impacts reproduction, fecundability, and success rates with in vitro fertilization (IVF).


A total of 133 female and male MBA students completed the survey. Nearly 10% of participants were not aware that women are born with a fixed number of oocytes and that oocyte quantity and quality decline with age. More than 30% of participants overestimated fecundability in women aged ≥35 years, and >50% overestimated IVF success rates in women older than 40 years. Fifteen percent of participants did not know that men have stem cells in the testes, and >25% were not aware that men experience a decrease in sperm concentration and quality with age. Nearly 30% believed that a man’s age never impacts reproductive outcomes. Less than 30% of participants correctly estimated fecundability and IVF success rates based on male age.


These data highlight important knowledge gaps in a highly educated group of MBA students, most whom desire future childbearing. Specifically, there is a lack of understanding of both male and female reproductive aging and an overestimation of treatment success. As delayed childbearing continues, particularly among those with high educational attainment, attention should be focused on introducing broad fertility education at a younger age to improve future reproductive success.

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.