Declining estimates of infertility in the United States: 1982-2002

Fertil Steril. 2006 Sep;86(3):516-23. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.02.129.


Objective: To determine if the decline in infertility has been uniform across subgroups.

Design: Periodic data from the National Fertility Survey and the National Survey of Family Growth were used to determine which factors contributed to the decline in 12-month infertility in the United States.

Setting: National Survey of Family Growth, a periodic US nationally representative study.

Patient(s): A nationally representative sample of married women aged 15-44 years, N = 15,303 for pooled data across 4 survey years.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Estimates of infertility prevalence among married women aged 15-44 years.

Result(s): The decline in 12-month infertility in the United States from 8.5% in 1982 and 7.4% in 2002 was significant. This decline was evident in nearly all subgroups of married women. In the multivariate analysis, 12-month infertility was more likely among women who were older and nulliparous, were non-Hispanic black or Hispanic, and did not have a college degree. The decline in 12-month infertility was observed even after controlling for the compositional differences of the population over time.

Conclusion(s): Among married women in the United States, there has been a significant decline in 12-month infertility, which cannot be explained by changes in the composition of the population from 1982-2002.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Causality
  • Educational Status
  • Epidemiologic Methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / epidemiology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Marital Status / statistics & numerical data
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Prevalence
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted / statistics & numerical data*
  • Risk Assessment / methods*
  • Risk Factors
  • United States / epidemiology