Women with PCOS want more fertility information: study

Most women want and expect to have children. However, women who have a chronic health condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often have concerns about childbearing including whether they can become pregnant.

In a recent study by Monash University, in partnership with the Victorian Assisted Reproductive Treatment Authority (VARTA), women with PCOS took part in an online discussion group where they were asked if they had any concerns about fertility and childbearing, the sort of information they would like about fertility and PCOS, and when they would like to receive it.

Women said they had a number of concerns about childbearing, including whether they could become pregnant, how to prepare for pregnancy and what they should do before trying to conceive given their PCOS, and they found it difficult to get information about fertility and childbearing that was up-to-date, relevant and reliable.

Women of reproductive age from all parts of Australia took part in the study conducted by Monash University’s School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Study leader, Monash research fellow Dr Sara Holton said that although PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder in women of reproductive age, little research has addressed their fertility and childbearing concerns and related information needs and preferences.

“Women with PCOS often have concerns about fertility and childbearing mainly because they have been told that it can be difficult for them to conceive, and they want evidence-based information so that they can make informed decisions about what they can do to improve their chance of having children and achieve their reproductive goals”, said investigator Dr Sara Holton.

The researchers suggest that women with PCOS who want to get pregnant would benefit from preconception care and counselling and information about what they can do to improve their chances of pregnancy and having a healthy baby.

“Women often found it difficult to find adequate information relevant to their condition about what to do before trying to conceive, and they were concerned that there was more they should be doing to improve their chances of conception”, said co-investigator Dr Karin Hammarberg.

The findings of this study have implications for healthcare providers and women with PCOS and highlight the importance of ensuring women receive reliable, relevant and timely information about fertility and childbearing, and preconception care.

The findings of this study were published in Human Reproduction Open.

/Public Release.