The Evaluation of a Decision Aid for Women Considering Non-medical Egg Freezing
There is a growing trend in developed countries for women to delay starting a family until their early 30’s or later. This delay can mean that some women miss the opportunity to have children due to age-related infertility. Egg freezing can offer women the option of delaying pregnancy and lower the risk of age-related infertility. However, making choices around egg freezing and family planning is complicated as health, financial and psychological implications for a procedure with no guarantee of success. Although increasing numbers of women are freezing their eggs, very little is known about their understanding of egg freezing and its potential impact. Nor is it known what information women need in order to make an informed decision.
The aim of this study is to investigate the decisional conflict, knowledge of egg freezing, and information needs amongst women considering egg freezing for non-medical reasons. Declining fertility is an urgent social and economic problem in Australia and most other developed countries. The most common and potentially avoidable factor contributing to declining fertility is advanced female age. Advances in technology mean that women now have access to egg freezing to try and overcome the effects of age-related infertility. This procedure is being widely promoted by commercial providers, but is also costly and caries potential physical and emotional risks. Currently, women are relying on information from commercial providers and internet sources such unmoderated forums and blogs. There is a need for objective and evidence-based information to support decision-making. An interactive, online decision aid for women considering egg freezing for non-medical reasons has been developed. This will be the first study to develop and evaluate a decision aid in the context of non-medical egg freezing. It is anticipated that the decision aid will lead to better understanding of fertility-related issues and educated involvement in decision-making.
Dr Michelle Peate (University of Melbourne), Prof Martha Hickey (University of Melbourne), Dr Alice Hucker (University of Melbourne), Ms Sherine Sandhu (University of Melbourne), Dr Raelia Lew (Melbourne IVF), Ms Sabine Braat (University of Melbourne), Prof Jane Fisher (Monash University), Dr Karin Hammarberg (Monash University), Ms Janet Michelmore (Monash University), Prof William Ledger (IVF Australia), Ms Louise Johnson (VARTA), Dr John McBain (Royal Women’s Hospital), Ms Franca Agresta (Melbourne IVF), Ms Anna Parle - Consumer Representative and Ms Fiona Summers - Consumer Representative
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