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Women use less reproductive technology than they did in 1990s

A new CDC study shows a sharp decline in the number of women seeking infertility help since 1995.
A new CDC study shows a sharp decline in the number of women seeking infertility help since 1995.Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images

A CDC report released yesterday indicates that the number and percentage of women who seek advice or treatment for infertility has declined sharply since the mid-1990s. This occurred in spite of increasing numbers of couples waiting until they are older to have children, along with steady advances in assistive reproductive technology.

The CDC report used data from the 2006–2010 National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), consisting of 22,682 interviews with men and women aged 15–44, conducted from June 2006 through June 2010.

The study found that among women aged 25–44, 17% (6.9 million) had ever used any infertility service, a significant decrease from 20% in 1995.

Older, married, well educated, white, high-income women were the most likely to seek help in getting pregnant. It stands to reason that only fairly affluent women could afford advanced options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or surgical procedures. However, infertility help, for the purposes of the survey, could have included even relatively inexpensive options such as a doctor's advice, male or female infertility testing or drugs to stimulate ovulation.

Infertility studies in previous decades had shown sharp increases in couples seeking infertility help between 1982 and 1995.