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Fertility awareness for family building

Grace, Bola; (2018) Fertility awareness for family building. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Background: With recent demographic changes towards delayed parenthood comes involuntary childlessness and smaller family sizes than desired. As the average age of first time mothers in the UK continues to rise, health policies have highlighted the importance of optimising women’s health through better knowledge and awareness. This study therefore aimed to assess current patterns of fertility knowledge, attitudes and practices; and identify improvement opportunities to enable men and women to achieve their desired fertility intentions. Methods Quantitative and qualitative mixed methods research was conducted via a UK wide cross-sectional survey and in-depth interviews. Results were obtained from 1,082 survey respondents and 35 interviewees who were purposively sampled to include men, women and healthcare professionals with variation in age, level of education, ethnicity and training. Qualitative data analysis was conducted using the Framework method. In the absence of a suitable definition in the literature of family building, I generated a new definition. Results Overall, the study participants showed poor knowledge of topics relating to fertility and reproductive health. The proportion correctly answering the survey knowledge questions was 39.2% of men, 46.5% of women, 46.9% of healthcare professionals and 50.9% of women trying to conceive. Healthcare professionals, who were cited as the most used and trusted source for seeking fertility and reproductive health information, did not have better knowledge than the lay population in our study. Respondents considered that school education did not adequately cover topics related to family building and were distrustful of many sources. Several interconnecting socioeconomic and personal factors influence family building decisions. These were used to identify five main groups of individuals (No Desire, Stoppers, Betweeners, Planners and Conceivers), for whom fertility awareness information would need to be tailored differently to suit different intentions. Conclusions This study has led to the development of a new definition for the term family building. Fertility awareness for family building is poor among individuals of reproductive age and healthcare professionals in the UK. Improvements through a more holistic lifecourse approach to reproductive health, including family building, should be a key component of public health programs. This requires collaborative initiatives supported by policy makers; healthcare professionals, educators and other special interest groups in order to help individuals achieve their desired family building intentions.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Fertility awareness for family building
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2018. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: fertility awareness, mixed methods, qualitative research
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL EGA Institute for Womens Health > Reproductive Health
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10060624
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