Canadian high school students may lack important knowledge about risk factors for infertility, survey findings suggest.

For example, most students were unaware that some sexually transmitted infections can cause infertility problems.

“About 80 percent of students said they were familiar with the term infertility,” Susan Quach, of Sunnybrook and Women’s College Hospital Fertility Center in Toronto, told.

But when asked more specific infertility-related questions, fewer students answered correctly, indicating a lack of knowledge that may increase their risk of infertility later in life, Quash said.

For example, more than 94 percent of the students did not know that sexually transmitted infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can lead to infertility, Quash and co-investigator Dr. Clifford Librach at the University of Toronto report in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

The researchers asked 772 ethnically diverse high school students to complete a written questionnaire designed to determine their knowledge of and attitudes about infertility. The students were 17.5 years old, on average, and 49 percent were female.

A total of 608 students completed the questionnaire and, as noted, the vast majority did not know that chlamydia and gonorrhea can lead to infertility. About 25 percent thought fertility problems only occurred among women 40 years or older.

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