To estimate the changes in infertility from 1995–2019 and determine the association of individual-level characteristics with fertility in the United States.
Periodic data from 1995, 2002, 2006–2010, 2011–2013, 2013–2015, 2015–2017, and 2017–2019 cycles of the National Survey for Family Growth were used for this analysis. The National Survey for Family Growth comprises samples of the household-level population of women aged 15–44 years in the United States.
Surveyed married and cohabiting women aged 15–44 years.
Main Outcome Measure(s)
The primary outcomes were the rates of infertility across subgroups of married or cohabiting women. For secondary outcomes, we performed bivariable and multivariable logistic regression models using the pooled sample (N = 53,764) to determine the association of individual-level characteristics, including age, parity, pelvic inflammatory disease treatment, education, income, race or ethnicity, and receipt of sexual and reproductive health services, with the odds of 12-month infertility among married or cohabiting women.
The fluctuations in infertility over this period, with a low of 5.8% in 2006–2010 and a high of 8.1% in 2017–2019, were not found to be statistically significant. This trend was present across nearly all subgroups. The multivariable model showed that women who were older and nulliparous, had fewer years of education, had lower income, were non-Hispanic black, or were not receiving sexual and reproductive health services were more likely to be infertile.
This study confirms that parity, age, race, and education level continue to have an association with infertility. Further, the results demonstrate that access to sexual and reproductive health services plays an important role in infertility. In contrast to previous studies, infertility in the United States is no longer on the decline, and Hispanic ethnicity did not have a significant relationship with infertility. Given the rise of sexually transmitted infections and the persistent lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services, particularly among already vulnerable groups, the connection between access to care and infertility is ripe for further investigation.