Australia’s population hit 25 million earlier this month. That’s quite a milestone.
But considering we also have an ageing population with a life expectancy of around 80, we need to ensure we’re replenishing the pool. The nation’s future quite literally depends on it, if we are not to rely on migration alone to grow our population.
This is why the biology of fertility is something that both men and women need to understand, says Dr Howard Smith, medical director of Westmead Fertility Centre.
Speaking to the The Daily Telegraph this week, Dr Smith, a Specialist Physician with more than 25 years experience in reproductive endocrinology and infertility medicine, including infertility issues in both sexes, said all high school students must be educated on fertility as an essential component in “life planning”.
The information would be delivered as fact, with no opinion, so as not to influence students about their careers, or whether or not they choose to reproduce later in life.
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As Dr Smith explained, it would not be an attempt “to dictate what women do with their bodies”. But in his experience, the knowledge would be shared because “age is by far the biggest contributor to infertility.”
Dr Smith is speaking at a fertility symposium at Westmead Hospital this week, sharing his experience, and addressing the misconception that reproductive techniques can overcome all issues of biology.
Other factors in fertility can include genetics, diet, and obesity/weight.
Considering reproductive medicine can be costly, time-consuming, and emotionally draining, Dr Smith argues that it seems only fair that students be armed with information to help them make informed decisions.