Infertility and fertility intentions, desires, and outcomes among US women

Karina M. Shreffler, Stacy Tiemeyer, Cassandra Dorius, Tiffany Spierling, Arthur L. Greil, Julia McQuillan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE Little is known about how the experience of infertility or identification as someone with infertility shapes women's fertility intentions, desires, or birth outcomes. The purpose of this paper is to help fill this gap in knowledge for fertility-intentions research. METHODS Using data from the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB), we use linear and logistic regression methods to assess how infertility and parity statuses are associated with fertility intentions and desires, as well as how statuses at one point in time predict birth three years later. RESULTS We find that infertility is associated with lower fertility intentions. Women who have experienced infertility and/or identify as a person with infertility, however, express greater desires to have a baby and a higher ideal number of children. Women who meet the medical criteria for infertility are less likely than fecund women to give birth, despite greater desires. CONCLUSION These findings have important theoretical implications for our understanding of the meaning of fertility intentions for those who think their ability to achieve their intentions is uncertain, as well as for empirical research on fertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1168
Number of pages20
JournalDemographic Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes


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