Women underestimate the amount of time it would take to get pregnant, according to a new survey conducted by medical technology company Ava
The survey’s findings – which are broken down by age and country – reveal the extent to which many women around the world do not have a realistic understanding of how long it takes most couples to conceive, nor the importance of timing intercourse to the six-day fertile window in order to get pregnant.
The survey, which asked more than 2,000 women worldwide, also revealed that discussing topics related to fertility and trying-to-conceive (TTC) is still taboo, particularly at work, and that hearing news of friends’ pregnancies can elicit sadness or stress.
More than three-quarters of the women polled (78%) say they underestimated the amount of time it would take to get pregnant – and this was even higher in the US (83%) and Spain (83%)
Nearly half, or four per cent, of the women admitted they did not understand the importance of timing intercourse around the fertile days of the menstrual cycle (though French women seemed more educated, with 67 per cent acknowledging the importance of tracking the fertile window compared to 47 per cent of Spanish women and 48 per cent of German/Swiss women
60 per cent of women said they “don’t feel comfortable talking about fertility with anyone other than very close friends or family” – though this was much higher in Germany with 73 per cent respondents saying they weren’t comfortable, and lowest in France at only 48 per cent not comfortable.
The survey revealed the most common reason given for not sharing fertility and TTC experiences was not necessarily privacy concerns or embarrassment, but instead about expectation and anticipation from others. A common theme of quotes were: “Once I tell people we’re trying for a baby, they expect an update every time they see us and that’s annoying.”
“It’s unfortunate how much stress and frustration women still experience today around the process of getting pregnant, and about the discomfort many woman feel about sharing their fertility experiences with others,” said Ava Co-Founder Lea von Bidder, pointing out, “this is one of the reasons Ava has invested heavily in developing resources, education tools and supportive online communities for women to learn and talk about cycle-tracking and TTC topics.”
Sex and TTC
In addition, the Ava survey looked at the age-old beliefs around sex and TTC, revealing some of the stereotypes may hold true, especially in the US. For example:
- 51 per cent overall – or more than half the women – said they have had inconvenient or unromantic sex in order to try to conceive. But this number was MUCH higher in the US at 72 per cent, while only 29 per cent of French women said this
- Just under half the US women polled (47%) admitted they have had to convince a partner to have sex at a time when he was “not in the mood” in order to try to get pregnant. This was much higher than the 26 per cent of French women who have done this.
“Old-school methods of ovulation detection like OPKs and BBT thermometers seem to have unfortunately tainted many women’s experience with cycle tracking, reinforcing negative stereotypes about obligatory intercourse to conceive,” noted von Bidder. “This is exactly the problem Ava solves, since our technology detects the fertile window earlier than any other fertility tracking method, allowing couples 5.3 days to ‘try.’ We hope this helps bring back the romance and makes couples less dependent on jumping in bed when they’re not in the mood.”
US-Specific Fertility Findings
Within the US (973 respondents), some of the results showed notable differences from other countries as well as interesting variations according to age.
- 83 per cent of US women underestimated the amount of time it would take to get pregnant, but that number increases to 86% for women 40 or older.
- Nearly half of US women (49%) surveyed did not understand the importance of timing your cycle prior to trying to conceive. However for women 40 and over, the number drops to 36 per cent (more than a third understand relevance of timing your cycle)
- 80% said that hearing about other people getting pregnant and having babies caused them stress and/or depression – and that goes up to 86 per cent for women 40 or older.
- 72 per cent of women surveyed – nearly three-quarters – said they have had inconvenient or unromantic sex in order to try to conceive. This number rises to 77 per cent for women 40 and over
- 58 per cent of all US women 36 to 40 said they have had to convince a partner to have sex at a time when he was “not in the mood” in order to try to get pregnant.
“The vision for Ava has always been for our technology to arm women with easy insight about their bodies with the goal of giving women more control over their reproductive futures,” explained von Bidder.
“Nothing is more stressful than being in the dark about your own body and what to expect in the process of trying to conceive.”
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