Good News: Infertility is Going Down Among U.S. Women

The National Survey on Family Growth (NSFG) collects all kinds of information on U.S. women, including what kind of birth control they use. It also asks women and men about their experiences with infertility. For men, it asks whether they might have difficulty fathering a child. For women, the survey defines infertility as 12 months of unprotected sex without a pregnancy.

The survey didn’t find any relationship between women’s education, partner status, and income and infertility. Not surprisingly, age was related. As we’ve noted before, the survey found that few folks under age 30 are having problems getting pregnant when they want to.

Among women who’d had unprotected sex for 12 months:

  • Only 3.7% of those aged 15-24 hadn’t gotten pregnant yet.
  • It was 5.6% of women aged 25-29,
  • And 4.6% of women aged 30-34.

Among guys:

  • Only 3.3% of 15-24-year-olds may have had low fertility.
  • It was 4.4% of those 25-29,
  • And 6.8% of those 30-34.

And now, the really interesting part.

Even though couples are having kids later in life than ever before, infertility actually declined from 8.5% in 1982 to 6% in 2006-2010 for women of all reproductive ages (15-44). For men, about the same proportion (5%) have reported that they may have difficulty fathering a child since they started measuring in 2002.

In other words, contrary to popular biological-clock-mania, the fraction of women having problems getting pregnant has gone down in the last three decades. Maybe ladies can have it all after all. In the meantime,birth control!


Related Articles

Fertility Awareness: The Lesser-Known Birth Control

Which Birth Control Pill Is Right for Me?

Myths & Facts About Getting Pregnant


Originally published on

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Julianna D.
Juliana D.9 months ago

That's great as long as unintended pregnancies start going down as well..

Francesca A-S
Past Member about a year ago

Agreeing with Rosa C here :) although there's still the overpopulation issue lying around here

Christine V.
Christine V.about a year ago

thanks for sharing

Marija Mohoric
Maria Mohoricabout a year ago


Ashley heffner
Ashley heffnerabout a year ago

But if you try to tell people you know having 5-10+ kids might not be the best idea, they tend to go ballastic.

Ashley heffner
Ashley heffnerabout a year ago

Overpopulation could lead to our species own undoing. The most humane way to solve this is to encourage smaller families.

Interestingly, generally the more education a woman has, the less kids she has. Possibly because they want to finish school before they have kids. But for whatever reason the correlation is there. Correlation doesn't equal causation though.

Rosa Caldwell
Rosa Caldwellabout a year ago

Good news for people who have tried, but can't have children. However, children are not for everyone.

Debbie S.
Debbie S.about a year ago

I somehow don't think this is accurate. I think this is still a very big problem among both women and men. Between cell phones and pesticides and GMO foods there are more fertility issues than ever.

.about a year ago

Alan Lambert
Alan` Lambertabout a year ago

Interesting, don't know whether to be happy for the families who can know the joys of parenthood or sad for the unwanted or overcrowded.

I think both.