An all-girls school in London is the site of a brand new pilot program aligning education about fertility with sex ed for high school students.
The program at St Saviour’s and St Olave’s Church of England School, organized by gynecologist Dr. Geeta Nargund, tries to pack a lot of info into an hour: age-related fertility decline, family planning, and factors affecting female fertility all made it into the first lesson. (Don’t worry—child-free living was also presented as an option, and next week’s class covers male infertility.)
The reaction from Internet commentators has been split, with some saying programs like this put too much pressure on young women. But the data, from a 2011 survey of over 1,000 women of childbearing age and another recent survey of 1,000 British youth, are clear: the majority of people, regardless of age, don’t fully understand the statistics on fertility. For example, the 2011 Fertility IQ survey reported that the majority of women expect to wait until their mid-30s to have children, yet anticipate having no trouble getting pregnant. (You’ll recall how significantly pregnancy success rates drop after 35.) In the 2016 British survey, we learn that 80% of British youth are unaware of the age at which fertility decline begins.
Women deserve to make informed decisions about their lives, including whether and when to have children. That’s why education like this is imperative, especially as more women are choosing to have children at older ages. We need to make sure that women fully understand their biology—and their options—while they still have time to make choices.
Like we’ve said before: more information + more options = better decisions and happier, healthier women.