The results suggest that people could, if faced with a fertility problem, engage in ineffective behaviours that could delay seeking effective interventions
The UK-based team used a 21-item questionnaire to assess fertility knowledge in 110 female and 39 male under- and postgraduate university students (average age of just over 24 years).
Participants were far better at identifying fertility risks than myths, and better at identifying the latter than illusory benefits of healthy habits.
All risk factors, such as smoking and being overweight, were correctly identified, but participants mistakenly believed that they could increase their fertility, for example by moving to the countryside, using specific coital techniques, eating fruit and vegetables, or adopting a child.
They also believed that "not doing" something unhealthy, for example never drinking alcohol, could increase fertility instead of simply reducing exposure to risk and its effects.
Source: Human Reproduction 2008