Subscribe to the BioNews newsletter for free

Login
Advanced Search

Search for
BioNews

Like the Progress Educational Trust on Facebook


The Fertility Show


 

Start sex education early, fertility experts argue

18 April 2016

By James Brooks

Appeared in BioNews 847

Primary school children should be given sex and fertility education to help them make informed family-planning choices in later life, fertility specialists in the UK have said.

The recommendation came from speakers at the Fertility Health Summit: Choice not Chance event in London, which aimed to address ways to overcome a perceived lack of public understanding of age-related decline in fertility.

Dr Joyce Harper, professor of human genetics and embryology at the Institute for Women's Health at University College London, said that, regarding sex and fertility education: 'We need to start at primary school, maybe even younger. Yes, kids are going to ask about their anatomy […] so it's a good time, as a parent, to follow that on.'

Her views were echoed by Professor Adam Balen, chairman of the British Fertility Society, who helped organise the summit. 'We should look at three and four-year-olds being introduced to ideas about where babies come from,' he said.

The organisers also released details of a survey of 1000 16 to 24-year-olds, which they said revealed 'worrying gaps' in young people's understanding of reproductive health.

The survey showed that 80 percent of young people thought that female fertility only declines after the age of 35, whereas in fact it normally begins to decline during a woman's late 20s and then falls off more rapidly at 35.

Meanwhile, two-thirds of those surveyed thought that male fertility only starts to decline after the age of 40, with a third believing that the drop did not start until age 50. However, men normally also become less fertile in their late 20s, although the effect is less dramatic than for women.

'The findings of this survey confirm our fears that many young people encounter few opportunities to learn about their reproductive health until they try to conceive,' Professor Balen said.

At the conference, Professor Harper said that without robust sex and fertility education, young people would receive their first facts on the subject from internet sites or social media, where there is 'some really bad information'.

SOURCES & REFERENCES
The Guardian (Press Association) | 15 April 2016
 
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists | 15 April 2016
 

RELATED ARTICLES FROM THE BIONEWS ARCHIVE

22 August 2016 - by Phoebe Thornhill 
As a current sixth-form student, I am well-acquainted with the format of sex education in secondary schools. The single take-home message is: 'Don’t have unprotected sex because you’ll get pregnant, get an STI, or both.' I think that this needs to change...
20 June 2016 - by Amina Yonis 
Most fertility-tracking websites and phone apps provide women with inaccurate information on the best time to conceive, a study has found...
25 April 2016 - by Lone Hørlyck 
Genetic factors relating to physical maturation and personality may influence the age at which people first have sex, a study has found...
25 April 2016 - by Dr Rachel Brown 
This event, organised by the Progress Educational Trust, generated a lively debate about what – if anything – children should be taught at school about infertility...

04 April 2016 - by Ryan Ross 
Declining fertility rates in the West are partially a consequence of heightened competition for social status, according to an anthropological study...
04 April 2016 - by Dr Geeta Nargund 
Complete reproductive education, including regarding fertility issues, is the right of all our young people...
01 September 2015 - by Arit Udoh 
Access to IVF may serve as 'fertility insurance' for women, making them more inclined to delay motherhood and focus on their career, a study has suggested...
01 September 2015 - by Ann Furedi 
I was recently struck by the extent of media interest in the rising age at which women have babies - and the obnoxious arrogance of some of the related commentaries. Everyone, it seems, has a view on the right time for a woman to have a family...

HAVE YOUR SAY
Be the first to have your say.

You need to or  to add comments.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions


- click here to enquire about using this story.

Published by the Progress Educational Trust

CROSSING FRONTIERS

Moving the Boundaries of Human Reproduction

Public Conference
London
8 December 2017

Speakers include

Professor Azim Surani

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz

Professor Robin Lovell-Badge

Sally Cheshire

Professor Guido Pennings

Katherine Littler

Professor Allan Pacey

Dr Sue Avery

Professor Richard Anderson

Dr Elizabeth Garner

Dr Jacques Cohen

Dr Anna Smajdor

Dr Andy Greenfield

Vivienne Parry

Dr Helen O'Neill

Dr César Palacios-González

Philippa Taylor

Fiona Fox

Sarah Norcross


BOOK HERE

Good Fundraising Code

Become a Friend of PET HERE and give the Progress Educational Trust a regular donation