A recent study said: ‘Older, non-Hispanic or otherwise unhealthful women have higher rates of infertility.’
According to researchers at Johns Hopkins Medicine, the rate of infertility among US women in recent decades has remained predominant. Their new analysis of data collected between 1995 and 2019, and published in the journal Fertility and infertilityfound that infertility was more common among women who were older, non-Hispanic blacks with lower income or education, and women without access to health services. sexual and reproductive health.
“These findings show that we must continue to invest in our public health services and promote equal access to reproductive health care,” said Morgan Snow, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. and sex if we are to meet the national goals for reducing infertility.
Infertility – defined as the inability to get pregnant after at least one year of unprotected sex – affects millions of men and women of reproductive age. Studies conducted in the early 2000s showed that infertility rates declined throughout the 1980s and 1990s, although the cause of this drop remains unclear.
More recently, experts suspect that rates of sexually transmitted infections, which continue to rise from year to year, are contributing to rising rates of infertility. In addition, they say that the number of women receiving preventive gynecological care has decreased and the average age of first-time mothers has increased.
“This is a unique time when STIs are on the rise and there is some threat to access to health care,” said Maria Trent, of Johns Hopkins University. “For care providers who are working with women, it’s important to understand how these factors can affect fertility.”
For the new study, Snow and Trent analyzed data on 53,764 women who participated in the federally supported National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG). While the survey did not explicitly ask about infertility, it included questions about sexual activity, contraception, and pregnancy that were not used in previous studies to estimate infertility rates. It also collects information on sociological factors and health care.
Based on the responses, the researchers concluded that infertility rates varied slightly from year to year, with a low from 2006 to 2010 of 5.8% and a high from 2017 to 2019 of 8. ,first%. However, these fluctuations were not considered statistically significant, and the team concluded that overall fertility rates did not change significantly over the study period.
However, within specific population groups, the rate of infertility is significantly higher than the average rate compared with the general population. Women between the ages of 40 and 44 are about 11 times more likely to be infertile than younger women, and women who don’t complete high school are twice as likely to be infertile than those with a bachelor’s degree. More educated, non-Hispanic black women have a 44% higher risk. were more infertile than women of other races, and women who had not received recent sexual health care were 61% more likely to be infertile. Unlike previous studies, the new data do not show higher rates of infertility among Hispanic women.
“These numbers tell us that fertility remains an issue, especially for some vulnerable populations,” says Trent.
Trent notes: Understanding who is most at risk of infertility can help shape public health guidelines and messages. For example, the link between access to preventive health care and infertility suggests that focusing on identifying and treating STIs can reduce infertility by reducing the prevalence of inflammatory diseases. pelvic floor, a major risk factor for infertility.
The researchers cautioned that their study was limited by its reliance on questions in the NSFG, which were not designed to directly measure infertility rates or access to care. Still, the study offers a valuable comparison with previous studies on infertility rates, Snow said. More research is needed to understand the complex sociological factors behind the associations.