A new way to estimate the potential unmet need for infertility services among women in the United States

Arthur L. Greil, Kathleen S. Slauson-Blevins, Stacy Tiemeyer, Julia Mcquillan, Karina M. Shreffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Background: Fewer than 50% of women who meet the medical/behavioral criteria for infertility receive medical services. Estimating the number of women who both meet the medical/behavioral criteria for infertility and who have pro-conception attitudes will allow for better estimates of the potential need and unmet need for infertility services in the United States. Methods: The National Survey of Fertility Barriers was administered by telephone to a probability sample of 4,712 women in the United States. The sample for this analysis was 292 women who reported an experience of infertility within 3 years of the time of the interview. Infertile women were asked if they were trying to conceive at the time of their infertility experience and if they wanted to have a child to determine who could be considered in need of services. Results: Among U.S. women who have met medical criteria for infertility within the past three years, 15.9% report that they were neither trying to have a child nor wanted to have a child and can be classified as not in need of treatment. Of the 84.9% of infertile women in need of treatment, 58.1% did not even talk to a doctor about ways to become pregnant. Discussion: Even after taking into account that not all infertile women are in need of treatment, there is still a large unmet need for infertility treatment in the United States. Conclusion: Studies of the incidence of infertility should include measures of both trying to have a child and wanting to have a child.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-138
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2016
Externally publishedYes


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