In 2002, approximately 8.9 percent of women 18-44 years of age in the U.S. reported receiving infertility services at some time in their life and 2.0 percent had an infertility-related medical appointment within the past year. Infertility services include receiving advice from a medical professional, infertility testing, drugs to improve ovulation, surgery to correct tubes, and artificial insemination. Non-Hispanic White women were most likely to report ever seeking medical help to get pregnant (10.7 percent) compared to other racial and ethnic groups; non-Hispanic Black women were least likely (4.7 percent) to seek medical help.

The average age at first birth among women in the U.S reached an all-time national high of 25.1 years in 2002. The age at first birth has risen steadily over the past three decades from an average of 21.4 years in 1970.1 This reflects a drop in the birth rate among teens and an increase among women in their 30s-50s. The delay in trying to conceive, coupled with the natural decline in women’s fertility beginning in the late 20s or early 30s, may be one reason why women between the ages of 40 and 44 were likely to report ever seeking medical help to get pregnant; this age group represented 11.7 percent of women using infertility services. Women aged 30-34 years represented 34.8 percent of women using these services in the past year.

Of the approximately 5.1 million women who reported ever seeking medical help to get pregnant, 11.1 percent were currently pursuing medical help to get pregnant, and 75.8 percent had private insurance that covered some portion of their infertility services. The three most commonly reported services were advice (66.1 percent), infertility testing (21.2 percent), and drugs to improve ovulation (7 percent).

Graph: Women Who HAve Ever Received Infertility Services by Race/Ethnicity[d]

Graph: Women Who Have Had an Infertility Related Medical Appointment in the Past Year by Age[d]

1National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 52, No. 10, December 17, 2003.