Barriers to managing fertility: Findings from the Understanding Fertility Management in Contemporary Australia Facebook Discussion Group

Sara Holton, Heather Rowe, Maggie Kirkman, Lynne Jordan, Kathleen Margaret McNamee, Christine Margaret Bayly, John McBain, Vikki Sinnott, Jane Rosamond Woodward Fisher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


BACKGROUND: As part of research investigating the complexities of managing fertility in Australia, public opinions about how Australians manage their fertility were sought from women and men.

OBJECTIVE: To identify public opinion about sexual and reproductive health in Australia.

METHODS: To ensure access to a diverse group of people throughout Australia, an online group was advertised and convened on Facebook from October through December 2013. In a closed-group moderated discussion, participants responded to questions about how people in Australia attempt to manage three aspects of fertility: avoiding pregnancy, achieving pregnancy, and difficulties conceiving. Nonidentifiable demographic information was sought; no personal accounts of fertility management were requested. The discussion transcript was analyzed thematically.

RESULTS: There were 61 female and 2 male Facebook users aged 18 to 50 years living in Australia participating in the study. Four main themes about fertility management were identified: access, geographical location, knowledge, and cost. Participants reported that young people and people from rural areas face barriers accessing contraception and fertility services. Limited knowledge about sex and reproduction and the cost of fertility services and contraception were also said to impede effective fertility management.

CONCLUSIONS: Reasons for inequalities in effective fertility management that are amenable to change were identified. Facebook is an effective method for gaining insights into public opinion about sexual and reproductive health.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere7
Pages (from-to)1 - 11
Number of pages11
JournalInteractive Journal of Medical Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Fertility management
  • Australia
  • Facebook
  • Social media

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