1 In 8 Women Struggle With Infertility: Why Do So Many Decline To Seek Care?

June 28, 2019 - 9:11 am

(WWJ) - About one in eight women in the U.S is struggling to get pregnant and getting help is not easy, according to new research.

Infertility is a medical disease that doesn't discriminate among socioeconomic status, education or ethnic backgrounds. But disparities exist when it comes to seeking treatment for infertility, according to new research from the University of Michigan.

"We found that women who reported having higher incomes, more advanced educations and degrees, and those with health insurance all reported that they had gone to see a doctor more commonly than women without those characteristics," Dr. Jim Dupree, Michigan Medicine doctor and senior study author, told WWJ Health Reporter Dr. Deanna Lites. 

Dupree says the study shows there are pockets of people who need more attention with health care.

"Those would be women with lower incomes, lower educational levels, those who are non-U.S. citizens and those without health insurance are those who might need some new or different attention, new ideas about how to make sure they are accessing very important health care and in particularly infertility care," he said. 

The study included responses from a nationally-representative sample of 2,502 reproductive-aged participants aged 20 to 44. Researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2013-2016, which reflects an estimated weighted population of 45.6 million women.

More than 80% of women with a college degree or higher who reported infertility saw a medical provider – compared to just 33% of women with a high school degree or less, the study suggests. More than two thirds of women with household incomes greater than $100,000 who reported infertility also sought care – compared to a third of women from households making $25,000 or less.

Uninsured women experiencing infertility also reported fewer medical visits that insured women having issues getting pregnant (39% compared to 65%).

Experts say more research and policy changes are needed to make treatment more accessible to everyone.