Fertile research

Research shows one-in-six Australian couples experience infertility. A team from the University of Newcastle, Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) and the University of Western Sydney, believe mobile phone apps may be key to improving women’s fertility knowledge. 

In a recent study by these institutes, more than 670 women were surveyed and asked questions about their knowledge of sexual health and fertility. More than half of those surveyed used phone apps with the ability to track period cycles, length, heaviness and duration.

However, the survey found their fertility knowledge was lacking, with women correctly answering only three of the six questions. Some women were only able to answer one question correctly, and three per cent of respondents were unable to answer any questions correctly.

The outcome of the study described the participants’ fertility knowledge as “mediocre”, which suggests that women are lacking education in some fundamental aspects of fertility and reproductive health. The researchers’ concern was that misunderstanding aspects relating to fertility may risk women’s future plans of parenthood.

Jane Winsor O’Keefe, the Maitland-Newcastle diocesan contact for Natural Fertility Services, agrees that many women are lacking knowledge about their fertility.

Mrs Winsor O’Keefe has been an accredited teacher in this area for more than 30 years, instructing couples on how to avoid or achieve a pregnancy naturally.

“Couples don't seem to have a lot of knowledge. Even if they have had a long time where they are trying to conceive, sometimes there's a lot of misconceptions,” she said.

“I actually got into this area because I was a little bit annoyed that people weren't being given the correct information and I found that it was good information to have. It is very effective when you have the right information and have the support to use it.”

Mrs Winsor O’Keefe uses an app recommended by Natural Fertility Services for tracking fertility signs, called Fertility Pinpoint, which allows couples to connect with a teacher directly. The personalised service means the teacher can see their tracking charts and then help them interpret the signs.

“A lot of couples have had improved health benefits using Natural Fertility Services,” she said. “Even couples who have had problems conceiving before or had tried other methods without success. We can have success with them, because a lot of it has to do with stress and that type of thing, rather than a specific illness or condition.”

If you are interested in learning more about your fertility through Natural Fertility Services, contact Mrs Winsor O’Keefe on 0490 496 632.

If you would like to be part of further study of fertility knowledge and smartphone apps, go to https://www.esurveycreator.com/s/fertilityQ.

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Brooke Robinson Image
Brooke Robinson

Brooke is Content Officer for the Communications Team in the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle

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