Background: Over the past 10 years, there has been a significant increase in the use of assisted reproductive technologies in Canada, however, little is known about the overall prevalence of infertility in the population. The purpose of the present study was to estimate the prevalence of current infertility in Canada according to three definitions of the risk of conception.
Methods: Data from the infertility component of the 2009-2010 Canadian Community Health Survey were analyzed for married and common-law couples with a female partner aged 18-44. The three definitions of the risk of conception were derived sequentially starting with birth control use in the previous 12 months, adding reported sexual intercourse in the previous 12 months, then pregnancy intent. Prevalence and odds ratios of current infertility were estimated by selected characteristics.
Results: Estimates of the prevalence of current infertility ranged from 11.5% (95% CI 10.2, 12.9) to 15.7% (95% CI 14.2, 17.4). Each estimate represented an increase in current infertility prevalence in Canada when compared with previous national estimates. Couples with lower parity (0 or 1 child) had significantly higher odds of experiencing current infertility when the female partner was aged 35-44 years versus 18-34 years. Lower odds of experiencing current infertility were observed for multiparous couples regardless of age group of the female partner, when compared with nulliparous couples.
Conclusions: The present study suggests that the prevalence of current infertility has increased since the last time it was measured in Canada, and is associated with the age of the female partner and parity.