Objective: To determine the prevalence and correlates of the self-perception of infertility among female adolescents.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Setting: Urban adolescent clinic in a neighborhood health center in Denver, Colo.
Participants: Two hundred sexually active, nulliparous, 14- through 18-year-old female adolescents.
Measurements/main results: Concerns about fertility were expressed by 43 (21.5%) of the 200 respondents. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the factors most strongly associated with the self-perception of infertility were as follows (odds ratios; 95% confidence interval): a history of discussing infertility with anyone (4.3; 1.8 to 10.4); desire for pregnancy (3.8; 1.4 to 10.3); boyfriend desiring pregnancy (3.0; 1.1 to 8.3); a history of sexually transmitted disease(s) (3.0; 1.2 to 7.1); and having an older boyfriend (2.6; (1.1 to 6.2). Adolescents who doubted their fertility used contraceptives less frequently than other teens (30% vs 55% of the time; P < .01).
Conclusions: The self-perception of infertility is common among sexually active urban female adolescents and may pose another barrier to contraceptive use. Our findings may help clinicians counsel adolescents about contraceptives more effectively.