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The ThinkFertility project arose out of concerns raised at a meeting of Business and Professional Women in Adelaide about women and infertility. BPW members displayed a surprising lack of awareness of physiology and reproductive biology and it became apparent that women and men have insufficient access to information about how fertility declines with age when they are making decisions about family formation.

BPW SA conducted research in 2004 to ascertain why women were delaying having children. The Medical Director of a South Australian reproductive medicine clinic, Dr Christine Kirby, provided some data on women presenting to the clinic. Christine advised that many couples are making decisions that with the wisdom of hindsight and correct information they indicated they would not have made.

A comprehensive review of the academic literature and the media indicated that:

  • women have too often delayed child-bearing in the belief that their fertility extends for longer than it does
  • men think infertility is a women’s issue and doesn’t apply to them
  • men and women are having less children than they say they want
  • the impact of societal and economic factors on decisions about family formation is significant.

Members were concerned that information about fertility can be found in GPs' rooms and hospital clinics, but healthy women don't see their doctor often and may not pick up this information. Websites on infertility are generally IVF clinic sites which take a medical and curative perspective rather than preventative.

It was determined that:

  • women and men needed to be provided with facts to enable informed choice
  • accurate information needs to be provided where healthy women and men gather, tailored to their needs and presented from a non-medical perspective
  • information needs to address a range of audiences of various ages and backgrounds
  • it was not about pushing women to have babies because not having children is also a valid choice.

The project was established to:

  • develop clear, informative materials for women and men about how women's fertility peaks and wanes, so that they can make informed decisions about planning their families
  • provide information in a readily accessible form tailored to different audiences – young women, working women, women of childbearing age and their male partners, mothers of young adult daughters, university and college students, and potential grandparents
  • make this material available in different formats (pamphlets, posters, postcards) and in a range of locations including cafes, gyms, campuses and workplaces and through other women's organisations
  • launch the materials and a website linked to the BPWA website and
  • provide an information package for the media with data, case studies and factual information, and contact details for experts.
  • and to use it as a platform to lobby for policy change.