There are a lot of myths and misconceptions when it comes to fertility, and women in Australia are crying out for informative resources and support.
That’s why at Kin, our mission is to better equip women to take control of their fertility health and become advocates for their own bodies.
This pursuit is something that’s personally close to my heart.
Having struggled with my reproductive health, I endured multiple doctor consultations and felt repeatedly like many health professionals didn’t actually care about my health concerns – particularly when it came to concerns around my period pains and fertility. At the age of 24, I was misdiagnosed with PCOS and told that I would be infertile – all before being sent on my way to deal with it by myself.
From what we have heard from our community, women value not just understanding their own bodies, but also whether what they are experiencing is par for the course.
Some anxieties around fertility are caused by a lack of fertility knowledge. 65 percent of Australian women reported anxieties in relation to their fertility according to The Aussie Fertility Survey 2021.
It’s clear there is a need for us all to talk more openly about our reproductive health and to have better access to educational resources. Education should put the patient first and be backed by science in a way that is actionable and digestible.
More than ever before, women have more decisions to make about their fertility: when to start a family, how to start a family, whether to prioritise careers or fertility, or just questions about how to do both. These attitudes and priorities are shifting.
As if those decisions weren’t hard enough, throw a pandemic into the mix. Almost one in five women declared that they had delayed their plans for starting a family because of COVID, with 57 percent facing brutal financial impacts that affected family planning – flying in the face of whatever “baby boom” concept talking heads in the media wanted to believe.
And it wasn’t just how COVID impacted decision making – the toll it had on our mental health was also clear. 30 percent of women said the pandemic’s impact on their mental health had been a factor in delaying plans, and two thirds cited rising levels of anxiety specifically about their fertility during the last 12 months.
Financial stability also proved to be a major influencing factor on Australian women who are planning for a family. Almost 70 percent of all respondents pointed towards finances as the main barrier holding them back.
Two thirds of women indicated they needed to own their own home or be more financially stable before even considering starting a family, and just over half (52%) wanted career progression before making the jump.
Additionally, only 15 percent of women said their current salary was enough to support raising a child – which I’m sure can be linked to rising housing costs, pay inequality, and of course, avocado on toast (not really).
We can expect economic influences to continue to shift the ‘pecking orders of tradition’, as over 30 percent of the women surveyed said they were unsure if they even wanted to have children – a discovery that seems to fly in the face of the narrative our entertainment industry and culture pushes about women being destined for motherhood.
15 percent even outright said they did not want children at all. To be honest, I even found myself questioning whether I truly wanted a family, or if I had always defaulted to assuming I should and would eventually have one.
The more we can shine a light around the issues and the attitudes we have towards our reproductive and fertility health, the more we can build research and solutions around it to truly drive the standard for healthcare forward.
One of the big inhibitors to women engaging more with their fertility, and seeking out information, is the lack of comfort in talking to others about their fertility.
To make a change and better inform women about their fertility, it’s about bringing the information that is hidden behind specialist doors closer. Making educational resources and access to contraception easier empowers women to make better informed decisions, with quality healthcare, that impacts their bodies and their reproductive health.
Women deserve a better quality of reproductive healthcare – that includes access to information, access to high-quality health advice, and access to the best products that science and innovation can create.