Millennials and Fertility Awareness: Where do we stand and where do we go?

The following blog focuses on the core trends and characteristics of millennials (female and male) regarding health, prevention and reproductivity. Where do we stand and what are potential opportunities?

The Millennial Mindset when it comes to health

According to surveys, people seem to have become more proactive than they used to when it comes to health matters. An increasing health awareness and interest in preventive measures shows a shift in awareness and behavior, especially among the young. Millennials (born between 1980-1996) in particular are leading the charge by making health-promoting lifestyle choices a priority as recent studies indicate. At the same time, millennials are also interested in health and natural lifestyles, which leaves many of them concerned about the side-effects of using hormonal contraception and unnecessary medication intake.

One important factor to consider is how young women today are delaying motherhood in order to pursue educational and career paths. In general, these young women are in favor of birth control and many of them use it. According to a research by the Public Religious Research Institute, more than 70 percent of millennials (men and women) think birth control is morally acceptable, and 60 percent think contraception is necessary for a women’s job and financial security.

In effect, the millennial generation (also called the ‘connected’ generation) is turning to ‘connected’ health, which is seen in the increase of health tracking apps built on algorithms. These apps are seen as a potential alternative method for achieving reproductive goals. With the help of these period tracker apps, women can track their fertility cycles and additional personal health notes.

Despite the presence of health tracking apps, there is still a lack of knowledge regarding fertility and reproductive anatomy. A population based survey of 1000 woman in the US concluded that knowledge regarding ovulation, fertility, and conception is limited among this sample of reproductive-age US women. Approximately 40% were unfamiliar with the ovulatory cycle. Overall, younger women (18–24 years) demonstrated less knowledge regarding conception, fertility, and ovulation, whereas older women tended to believe in common myths and misconceptions. Respondents in all age groups identified women’s health care providers (75%) and web sites (40%) as top sources of reproductive health–related information; however, engagement with providers on specific factors affecting fertility is sparse. A global study published for World Fertility Awareness Month in 2006 surveyed 17,500 people (most of childbearing age) from 10 countries in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America, revealing very poor knowledge about fertility and the biology of reproduction.

Although applications like Flo, Clue, or Eve tracker may give you ‘precise AI-based period and ovulation predictions’ based on more than 30 symptoms and activities, I personally remain with many questions. HOW do I track cervical mucus? WHY is the mucus different in some periods? WHAT is reproductive anatomy and hormonal interplay? WHAT happens in the ovary? HOW do I start family planning proactively, instead of reacting on an algorithm? And finally, HOW evidence-based and reliable are these apps?

The need for a comprehensive health program

Taking into account these trends, a comprehensive health program is necessary that actively teaches women to understand their bodies and how to recognize hormonal and other vital signs of health. When women comprehend the central role of reproductive endocrinology in the management of their health,  it empowers women in achieving their health and reproductive goals. Fertility Education and Medical Management (FEMM) not only offers fertility education and innovative application, it also has a comprehensive physical and lab workup to diagnose and treat the root causes of health conditions in specialized clinics.

From my personal experience, I’ve been trying different apps for many years. After following the complete FEMM training on the reproductive anatomy, biomarkers, fertility indicators and the overall ovulation cycle, I gained first a better knowledge about my body, and secondly an understanding of what and why I’m charting and also achieved individual development. Finally, I must admit this education improved the communication and affectivity with my partner and encouraged me to talk in an informed and collaborative manner to my physician and friends.

To conclude, I enthusiastically invite you to check out FEMM’s training and health app. It is for all women, regardless of age, race, and reproductive goals. The FEMM training program teaches woman about monthly cycles, how to monitor hormonal and other signs of health and fertility in their monthly cycles. And finally, the FEMM app makes it easy to manage, track, and understand health and fertility. I’m convinced that everybody could benefit from taking charge of their health. FEMM invests in ongoing research and medical education to bring the best and most up-to-date knowledge to women and their doctor. I would recommend FEMM to every woman. Every woman deserves to know how her body works.

Written by Stéphanie Seghers, a current WYA Headquarters intern from Belgium