IVF expert calls for fertility education in schools

One of Australia’s leading IVF pioneers says it is time schools did more to bring early awareness about infertility, warning many couples are turning to reproductive technology for problems that could have been avoided.

In 2002, Australian clinics carried out about 33,000 rounds of treatment, but almost a decade later, that figure had almost doubled.

While more and more couples are turning to IVF, Professor Rob Norman from Adelaide University believes it is a procedure many can avoid.

“For a substantial number of people, if they’d taken the right decisions earlier on, and continued with it, they wouldn’t have the problems they do now,” he said.

Smoking, sexually transmitted disease, eating disorders and even too much exercise can have devastating consequences.

Age is another factor many couples wanting to get pregnant do not take into account.

“I see a lot of women convinced they can have children over the age of 45,” Prof Norman said.

The biological clock affects men too, from the age of 40.

It is information Dr Norman would like to see taught in classrooms, alongside topics such as contraception.

“Whether you’re going to have children or not, you should know about your reproductive system, what turns it on and what turns it off,” he said.

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