Infertile women more willing to take risks

Our research project on health numeracy and risk behaviour was presented at the annual Congress of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction in Brisbane last week.The study explored how much a person's ability to understand health statistics, such as the risk that a complication may occur, would influence their decision making in IVF.The findings suggest that being comfortable with numbers and statistics helps patients make better informed decisions. Another significant finding is that infertile women tend to be more worried about complications during pregnancy and they also overestimate those risks.
Despite these concerns, women with infertility are more likely to take extra risks, such as transferring two embryos at the same time. Double embryo transfers are associated with a higher risk of multiple pregnancy and this leads to poorer outcomes for the mother but also for the baby. Multiple pregnancies increase the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and cerebral palsy.
The importance of the study is that a better understanding of what influences risk behaviour can help IVF specialists and counsellors tailor the information that is provided to the needs of the patient.

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