US Infertility Rates Drop Slightly

August 16, 2013

NCHS has released a new report that presents nationally representative estimates and trends for infertility and impaired fecundity—two measures of fertility problems—among women aged 15–44 in the United States. Data are also presented on a measure of infertility among men aged 15–44.

Infertility is defined as a lack of pregnancy in the 12 months prior to survey, despite having had unprotected sexual intercourse in each of those months with the same husband or partner. Impaired fecundity is defined as physical difficulty in either getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to live birth.

NCHS data are used to monitor the prevalence and correlates of infertility and to evaluate the use, efficacy, and safety of infertility services and treatments.

Key Findings from the Report: 

  • The percentage of married women aged 15–44 who were infertile fell from 8.5% in 1982 (2.4 million women) to 6.0% (1.5 million) in 2006–2010.
  • Impaired fecundity (trouble getting pregnant) among married women aged 15–44 increased from 11% in 1982 to 15% in 2002, but decreased to 12% in 2006–2010. Among all women, 11% had impaired fecundity in 2006–2010.
  • Both infertility and impaired fecundity remain closely associated with age for nulliparous (childless) women. Among married, childless women aged 35–44, the percentage infertile declined from 44% in 1982 to 27% in 2006–2010, reflecting greater delays in childbearing over this period.
  • Among married women in 2006–2010, non-Hispanic black women were more likely to be infertile than non-Hispanic white women.
  • Some form of infertility (either subfertility or nonsurgical sterility) was reported by 9.4% of men aged 15–44 and 12% of men aged 25–44 in 2006–2010, similar to levels seen in 2002.