Katri Heikkilä, Esko Länsimies, Maritta Hippeläinen, Seppo Heinonen
BACKGROUND: This paper explores the attitudes toward different aspects of assisted reproduction technology between parous women and future doctors, third and fourth year medical students. METHODS: We anonymously surveyed 200 parous women who had at least three infants and had given birth at Kuopio University Hospital and to 200 medical students of Kuopio University. RESULTS: The overall response rate was 45%. Most of the medical students were childless (95.7%) and unmarried (63.8%), and younger (24 y vs. 35 y) compared to parous women (P < 0.001). Medical students were liberal in questions of who has the right to get infertility treatment: 49% of them would allow the possibility to lesbian and 43% to homosexual couples and over 50% to single women. Over 40% of medical students would allow the use of surrogate mother to lesbian and homosexual couples, the numbers were under 20% in group of parous women. Their setting of priorities within the field of Reproductive Health also showed differences in prostate cancer screening, doctor’s appointment due to contraception, abortion and menopausal hormone replacement therapy. CONCLUSIONS: Medical students take a rather liberal stance on reproductive issues. On the other hand, baseline attitudes among medical students reveal some degree of “subjectivism” when it comes to allocation of scarce health care resources within the field of Reproductive Health. The medical education has a challenge to make future physicians’ to be able to indicate the setting of priorities and balance resources between preventive medicine and management of specific medical conditions, and to base their attitudes on evidence.