Fertility myths, technology myths and their sources - Lay reasoning about age-related fertility decline

Lilla Vicsek


In many societies the average age for giving birth is rising. One factor which could contribute to the timing of childbirth – which has not been explored to a sufficient degree with qualitative research – is lay understanding of fertility and the possibilities offered by reproductive technology. Twelve focus groups were used to examine the reasoning of female university students in Hungary about agerelated fertility decline, how they thought reproductive technologies could help, and how they drew on information sources. Although in many groups the existence of age-related fertility decline was acknowledged, fertility and technology myths – namely, overly positive misbeliefs – surfaced repeatedly. Building on some elements of the contextual model of Science and Technology Studies, I discuss how socialpsychological phenomena such as resistance to the idea of personal risk can be important in lay interpretations of age-related fertility decline, as well as how exemplification processes can contribute to these myths.


delayed parenthood; age-related fertility decline; fertility myth; assisted reproductive technologies

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ISSN: 2062-087X

DOI: 10.14267/issn.2062-087X