INTRODUCTION: Over the past 50 years women and men have postponed family formation in high-income societies. Fertility assessment and counselling has been suggested as a method to reduce delayed childbearing and its consequences. This study explored women's perceptions of how attending a fertility assessment intervention influenced their decisions and choices regarding family formation and childbearing.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Follow-up data from a longitudinal semi-structured qualitative interview study including 20 women aged 35-40 years seeking individual fertility counselling at the Fertility Assessment and Counselling Clinic at Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark. The interviews were conducted one year after their consultation. Data were analysed by qualitative content analysis.
RESULTS: The women perceived an increase in their knowledge after they had attended the counselling. The women saw the counselling as a catalyst for change-they changed their behaviour and relationship status. The women stopped thinking about the pros and cons of childbearing and acted instead. The women did not experience any regrets about acting. Some of the women felt that they were still in limbo as they were still in doubt concerning childbearing. The consultation had not given them an answer with a clear deadline in terms of delaying attempts to become pregnant, and this frustrated them.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study highlights the impact of a fertility assessment and counselling intervention which included a perceived increase in knowledge. The clinic allows for an individualized approach to fertility awareness which is necessary given the unique nature of childbearing decisions.