Volume 35 - Article 39 | Pages 1149–1168  

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

By Karina Shreffler, Stacy Tiemeyer, Cassandra Dorius, Tiffany Spierling, Arthur Greil, Julia McQuillan


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.

Conclusions: 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.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

Stability and change in personal fertility ideals among U.S. women in heterosexual relationships
Volume 39 - Article 16

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

The COVID-19 pandemic and fertility responses: TFR simulation analysis using parity progressions in South Korea
Volume 49 - Article 32    | Keywords: COVID-19, fertility intentions, marriage intentions, simulation

Ultra-Orthodox fertility and marriage in the United States: Evidence from the American Community Survey
Volume 49 - Article 29    | Keywords: age at first marriage, American Community Survey (ACS), fertility, Judaism, marriage, religion, total fertility rate (TFR), Ultra-Orthodox Judaism

Advanced or postponed motherhood? Migrants’ and natives’ gap between ideal and actual age at first birth in Spain
Volume 49 - Article 22    | Keywords: actual age at first birth, age at arrival, fertility, ideal age at first birth, international migration, motherhood, Spain

Describing the Dutch Social Networks and Fertility Study and how to process it
Volume 49 - Article 19    | Keywords: fertility, Netherlands, personal networks, social influence

Partial fertility recuperation in Spain two years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 49 - Article 17    | Keywords: COVID-19, fertility, recuperation, Spain