For health professionals: What do Australian GPs really think about providing fertility and preconception health advice to men?

4 min

A man’s health and lifestyle prior to conception can influence pregnancy outcomes and the health of his children. A man’s age and modifiable lifestyle factors can influence pregnancy outcomes and offspring health, including obesity, alcohol, smoking and diet. However, men do not have adequate knowledge of how age and lifestyle factors can influence pregnancy outcomes, and there is little knowledge of whether and how primary health care practitioners promote preconception advice to men.

A study by researchers at Healthy Male has revealed the barriers and enablers to fertility and preconception health promotion to men, and the need for better education and training of general practitioners and for the provision of patient guides and online resources.

Accumulating evidence suggests that fertility, pregnancy outcomes and health of offspring can be influenced by a man’s health, age and lifestyle prior to conception. It is well-recognised that effective strategies are required to modify health behaviours of both men and women to optimise pregnancy outcomes.

Both men and women believe that health practitioners, including GPs, should provide advice and resources on fertility and pregnancy. Yet preconception health care is primarily focussed on women and is not widely practised for men in Australian primary health care.

Studies show that men do not have adequate knowledge about the effect of age and lifestyle factors on their fertility, nor about the potential consequences for the health of their children.

Health practitioners, including GPs, have an important role to play in providing advice on preconception health and fertility to men. In order to find ways to improve the delivery of preconception advice to men, researchers at Healthy Male investigated GPs’ knowledge, attitudes and behaviours towards men’s preconception health and fertility health promotion.

The study aimed to identify the gaps in GPs knowledge about male fertility and to assess their views on the barriers and enablers for delivering advice to men on their fertility and preconception health.

Read the research


Health practitioners

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