April 15, 2020
As our country and the world continue to face the coronavirus pandemic, we are grateful to work closely with medical professionals in the front lines of this challenge and contribute to medical education with unique, evidence-based content. In addition to our online elective and ongoing webinars, we continue to add new content to meet the needs of physicians in training and in practice as well as other medical professionals.
To help you mitigate the risks and stress of this unprecedented global crisis that has impacted all of us, we are hosting a special webinar tomorrow, April 16th 7 PM ET. As a national expert in physician wellness, burnout prevention, leadership, and advocacy, our senior writer and editor, Dr. Amaryllis Sánchez Wohlever, will present strategies for medical professionals to mitigate stress and find meaning and joy in the midst of this pandemic. You may register HERE.
This week, FACTS is proud to support the Cycle Power Summit, a free online conference that starts tomorrow, April 16th, and runs through April 20th. Our executive director, Dr. Marguerite Duane, will be one of more than thirty speakers sharing their expertise about fertility awareness and women’s health. Please register here.
Fertility Awareness Among Men: A Research Review
Editor’s Note: With National Infertility Awareness Week coming up the last week of April, this month we will feature interviews and research about infertility and fertility awareness. This is a review of research[i] published by Sylvest et al in 2018 titled, “Men’s expectations and experiences of fertility awareness assessment and counseling.” It was written by a fourth-year medical student as part of a two-week online elective taught by FACTS executive director, Dr. Marguerite Duane, at Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Research suggests that the age at which Danish men first father children has increased since 1980, and this trend has had several consequences. Men are now more likely to have difficulty conceiving with their partners and rely more heavily on assisted reproductive technologies. Advanced paternal age also means couples face a greater risk of adverse outcomes for both mother and baby. This study was conducted in the Fertility Assessment and Counseling (FAC) Clinic at Copenhagen University in Denmark to ascertain men’s understanding of fertility and help them make more informed decisions about the timing of childbearing for themselves and for their partners.
Study participants included 21 men who planned a fertility counseling visit at one of two FAC clinics, one located in Copenhagen and the other in the Danish city of Horsens. During these fertility counseling visits, men and their partners received counseling to evaluate their fertility risk, and men provided a sperm sample for analysis. Researchers completed two interviews with each of the 21 men in the study. The first interview focused on the fertility intentions of the men and their expectations of FAC, and the second focused on their experiences of FAC. The transcripts of these interviews were then coded according to themes and analyzed.
Of the 21 men in the study, 19 came to the fertility clinic at their partner’s urging. Most expressed no expectations and no worries before the clinic visit, assuming clinic findings would confirm there were no issues with their fertility or that of their partner. After the clinic visit, men expressed gratitude for concrete information they received from the assessment, such as semen quality metrics. They also expressed a greater understanding of fertility and felt better prepared to plan for parenthood. The men felt reassured by the information they learned about how to become parents and believed the clinic visits helped their parenthood goals to coalesce.
Men who discovered their semen was considered low quality expressed surprise and dismay, and some reiterated their goal of biological fatherhood. These men mostly expressed a desire to mitigate fertility risks given the information they received about the quality of their sperm.
This study represents an intervention that sought to reach men at a teachable moment—when they confront certain aspects of their fertility status—to provide relevant information to guide their childbearing decisions. The study found that most men did not have any concerns about fertility at the start of the study, and found it difficult to integrate information about low sperm quality into their self-concept of masculinity. This suggests that because of a lack of knowledge, many men do not take adequate measures to assess and protect their fertility, and that they may benefit from additional information about their likelihood of conception with a partner.
Some men stated the intervention made them more likely to start a family earlier, suggesting the chief strength of this research was not only its tendency to make men think more carefully about family planning but also the perceived usefulness of the information to the men. However, the research was limited by a short follow-up time to examine attitudes toward fertility, as well as a small sample size (21 participants) from a single national origin and of similar vocational backgrounds.
This study was very illustrative of young men’s attitudes toward fertility, at least within a specific population subset. I found it very instructive that most of the participants did not voluntarily attend the clinic and did not have any concerns about fertility before the first clinic visit. This suggests many men are receiving inadequate education regarding both male and female fertility, which may impact their future ability to bear healthy children if they decide to do so. Although this study could benefit from replication with a larger, more diverse population and from a longer follow-up period to more fully measure attitudes after exposure to the intervention, it demonstrates real impact on male consciousness of fertility and the potential to change future behavior.
[i] Sylvest, R. et al (2018). Men’s expectations and experiences of fertility awareness assessment and counseling. Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, 97(12), 1471-1477, https://doi: 10.1111/aogs.13449. Epub 2018 Oct 11.
Our NEW 2020
Beyond our core webinars, FACTS is pleased to present a series of new webinars this year — one offered each month through June 2020! These bonus presentations reflect current research and topics of growing interest in the field of fertility awareness.
Registration is now OPEN for these 1-hour webinars. To REGISTER, click on the dates below.
What Can Be Learned from Millions of App Records | Tuesday, April 28th, 8:30 pm EST
What’s New with Fertility Tracking Apps? | Tuesday, May 26th, 8:30 pm EST
Chart Neo & the Visual Fertility Advisor | Tuesday, June 23rd, 8:30 pm EST
Join Us for Our Core Webinars and Earn CME Credit!
Below are the webinars we offer every month.
To REGISTER, click on the dates below, then share and invite a colleague!
FABMs for Achieving & Avoiding Pregnancy
This presentation focuses on the use of FABMs to achieve pregnancy. It includes a case in which FABM charts assisted to diagnose and treat infertility. Evidence-based FABMs and their effectiveness rates to prevent pregnancy are also discussed.
Monday, April 27th, 1:00pm EST
The Female Cycle as the 5th Vital Sign
This presentation highlights the health of the female cycle and how the fertility awareness chart can aid in the diagnosis and management of common women’s health concerns.
Friday, May 8th, 12:00 pm EST
The Science Behind Fertility Awareness
Our flagship presentation, Fertility & Family Planning, reviews the latest research and science supporting FABMs and their effectiveness to prevent and achieve pregnancy.
Thursday, May 21st, 1:00 pm EST