Fertility and IVF should be taught in schools as part of the sex education curriculum -- that’s the call from some of Australia’s first test tube babies, or as they prefer to be called, the IVFlings.
Candice Thum, 35, was Australia’s first IVF baby and said attitudes to the technology had changed dramatically in her lifetime.
“When I was born, IVF was still considered quite experimental,” Thum said.
“Growing up through school, I was the only IVFling not just in the class but in the whole school.
“Today we know there’s one IVFling in every class.”
As a child, she was connected with fellow IVFling Rebecca Featherstone Jelen.
“We had shared experience,” Featherstone, 32, said.
“Growing up, my friends knew I was IVF, but they didn’t necessarily understand what that meant.”
Rebecca Featherstone Jelen is co-launching a fertility survey. Picture: IVFlings.org
Today, Thum and Featherstone said there were still people who didn’t understand the basics of fertility.
Together, they’ve launched the Fertility Matters campaign including a survey testing fertility knowledge, with plans to take the results to education experts.
“We’re taught how to not get pregnant and safe sex but it’s surprising what people don’t know about trying to fall pregnant,” Thum said.
“I grew up in a household where we spoke about everything which I suppose is quite unique but for a lot of people, there are knowledge gaps about fertility options.
“When one in six couples experiences difficulties, it’s worth being equipped with that knowledge.”
They intend to use the results of the survey to lobby school groups and politicians to have fertility addressed in the sexual education curriculum for Year 11 and 12 students.
This article has been changed to correct the spelling of Candice Thum's name.