SOURCE: EMD Serono, Inc.

EMD Serono, Inc. EMD Serono, Inc.

November 02, 2011 10:00 ET

MEDIA ALERT: New Data Presented at the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Annual Meeting Highlight the Need for Increased Education About Infertility in Women as Young as Mid-20s

Most Women Underestimate the Magnitude of Fertility Decline With Increasing Age

ROCKLAND, MA--(Marketwire - Nov 2, 2011) - Data were presented at this year's American Society of Reproductive Medicine Annual Meeting from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey that show that most women underestimate the magnitude of fertility decline with increasing age. The survey was conducted among more than 1,000 women aged 25-35 to assess fertility knowledge and prevalent beliefs.

In the survey, respondents answered 7 out of 10 fertility knowledge questions with a less than 50% correct mean response rate.i The areas of lowest fertility knowledge were: identifying the lengths of time it can take to become pregnant, and the likelihood of becoming pregnant across different age groups (14% and 8% answered correctly respectively).i Only 31% of survey respondents believe that increasing age is the single strongest risk factor for infertility.i

"While these data show that women have a general understanding about fertility issues, there is a clear need to educate further on the impact of age on fertility," explains Barbara Collura, Executive Director of RESOLVE, The National Infertility Association. "It is important for women to know that as you age, it may become increasingly difficult to conceive, and conception rates are not as high as most people believe. At 30, a healthy woman has about a 20% chance of conceiving, and by the time a women reaches 40, her chances drop to about 5% per month."ii

In addition, the data show that the primary source of infertility counsel for women is their Ob/Gyn (49%), followed by online sources (37%) and from their family and friends (29%).iii If faced with difficulty getting pregnant, women are most likely to seek fertility treatment from an Ob/Gyn.iv The Ob/Gyn remains the primary contact for women of reproductive age, and the data underscore the important role that the Ob/Gyn plays both in educating women about infertility and in identifying the appropriate time to refer them to an RE. However, women who are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year or more, or are over the age of 35 and have been trying for six months are encouraged to start seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) who can help them identify the best course of treatment.iii

"The good news is that 85-90% of infertility cases can be treated with conventional therapies," Collura states.iv "IVF and similar treatments only account for less than 5% of infertility services.v Women who are having trouble conceiving should first speak to their Ob/Gyn, however, if they are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year or more, or are over the age of 35 and have been trying for six months and still are not getting pregnant, they should move on to a reproductive endocrinologist as soon as possible to increase their chances of having success."iii

Three data posters from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey were presented at the ASRM meeting:

  • High and Low Knowledge areas concerning the link Between Age and Fertility Among US Women 25-35 Currently using birth control or not trying to Conceive: Key Results from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey
    • Objective: To measure women's knowledge pertaining to the impact of age on fertility
    • Conclusions: Most women of prime childbearing age underestimate the magnitude of fertility decline with increasing age. A more targeted discussion between women and their healthcare providers about age-dependent fertility success rates may help empower them to make more informed decisions about their reproductive choices.

  • Areas of Uncertainty Concerning Knowledge of Fertility and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) Among U.S. Women 25-35 Years of Age: Findings from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey
    • Objective: To determine women's prevalent beliefs and areas of uncertainty surrounding fertility and ART.
    • Conclusions: Most women appear to have a general understanding about the basics of fertility and ART. However, there is an opportunity for Ob/Gyns to provide education on age-related fertility success, and effects of long-term use of Oral Contraceptives on fertility.

  • Most Women Age 25 to 35 Primarily Seek Fertility Advice or Treatment from their Ob/Gyn: Findings from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey
    • Objective: To examine the frequency and reasons for office visits that women have with their Ob/Gyn and their confidence with their provider when offered infertility advice
    • Conclusions: The Ob/Gyn remains the primary contact for women of reproductive age. Thus, the annual Ob/Gyn visit provides a major opportunity for women to receive key information concerning their fertility options. Women have the greatest confidence in, and are very likely to seek fertility treatment or advice from, their Ob/Gyn.

About The Fertility IQ Study
Participants were recruited from the Harris Interactive Online Consumer Panel, March 2011. Eligibility criteria: having discussed fertility, or contraception options with an Ob/Gyn in the last 12 months, and currently using birth control or not trying to conceive. Survey questions on fertility risk factors, familiarity with treatment options, behaviors and attitudes toward fertility and its treatment, and Ob/Gyn interactions were adapted from Bretherick et al. 2009. A fertility knowledge index score was calculated by normalizing the score on 13 age and fertility knowledge questions on a 0-100 scale. Descriptive statistics were run for all survey items. The Fertility IQ Study was supported by EMD Serono, Inc.

About EMD Serono, Inc.
EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leader in the US biopharmaceutical arena, integrating cutting-edge science with unparalleled patient support systems to improve people's lives. EMD Serono has more than 1100 employees around the country and fully integrated commercial, clinical and research operations in Massachusetts. For more information, visit www.EMDSerono.com.

Interviews available:

  • Barbara Collura, Executive Director, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
  • Fulton Velez, MD, Associate Director, Health Outcomes & Market Access, EMD Serono

i Velez FF, et.al., Fertility Knowledge Among U.S. Women Currently Using Birth Control or Not Currently Trying to Conceive: Findings from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey.
ii American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Age and Fertility. Accessed on May 6, 2011. Available at http://www.reproductivefacts.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/agefertility.pdf.
iii Fincher, C, et.al., Most Women Age 25 to 35 Primarily Seek Fertility Advice or Treatment from their Ob/Gyn: Findings from the Fertility IQ 2011 Survey.
iv American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Quick Facts About Infertility. Accessed on May 17, 2011. Available at http://www.reproductivefacts.org/detail.aspx?id=2322.
v RESOLVE. Myths About Reproductive Endocrinology. Accessed on May 6, 2011. Available at http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/myths-about-reproductive-endocrinologists.html.