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

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Date received:24 Jun 2015
Date published:20 Oct 2016
Word count:2407
Keywords:births, fertility, fertility intentions, infertility, National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB)


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

Karina Shreffler - University of Oklahoma, United States of America [Email]
Stacy Tiemeyer - University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, United States of America [Email]
Cassandra Dorius - Iowa State University, United States of America [Email]
Tiffany Spierling - Oklahoma State University, United States of America [Email]
Arthur Greil - Alfred University, United States of America [Email]
Julia McQuillan - University of Nebraska–Lincoln, United States of America [Email]

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

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