AIMS: Reproductive behaviour has changed during the most recent decades, with increased infertility and subfertility. This study evaluated fertility, estimated the prevalence of fertility problems, and assessed possible predictors for impaired fertility. METHODS: Eligible subjects were 9,983 menopausal women participating in two health surveys. Data were collected by comprehensive questionnaires. RESULTS: Of all women 89.3% were fertile, 4.8% were subfertile, 4.1% were voluntarily childless, and 1.8% were involuntaruly childless. Impaired fertility was associated with a higher level of education and excessive alcohol intake. There were significant differences in subfertility among the parous women, with increased subfertility with decreasing age. Among the nullipara, involuntary childlessness was more prevalent in the youngest age group, while voluntary childlessness increased with advancing age. CONCLUSIONS: Fertility problems were quite common, and have increased in younger age groups, though seemingly fewer women remained childless past their reproductive age in the youngest age group.
To assess changes in self-reported fertility from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s.
The study is a retrospective population-based study.
The study applied a dataset from two cross-sectional surveys conducted in the mid-1990s and some 10 years later, inviting all women in a county in Norway.
Women aged 50-59 years enrolled in either survey constituted two cohorts. Data on 4468 women in the first survey (Cohort 1940) and 4951 women in the latter survey (Cohort 1950) were collected by structured questionnaires.
Prevalence of fertility, infertility with subcategories subfertility and involuntary childlessness, as well as childlessness was estimated and compared between the surveys. Possible sociodemographic and lifestyle predictors of fertility were assessed at different points in time.
Fertility declined over the two successive surveys; 87.8% of the women in Cohort 1940 were fertile compared with 84.2% of the women in Cohort 1950 (p = 0.000). The prevalence of infertility increased over time due to an increase in subfertility from 7.8 to 10.6% (p = 0.000). The level of education increased with time, as did at-risk alcohol consumption and smoking, and these factors were adversely associated with fertility. The proportion of childless women increased across surveys (p = 0.004) but relatively fewer women were involuntarily childless in Cohort 1950 than in Cohort 1940 (p = 0.543).
Fertility, measured at 10-year intervals, declined significantly. The decline in fertility was related to changes in subfertility. Adjustments for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors did not fully explain the decline in fertility.
Studies suggest that health complaints, distress and poor life satisfaction are associated with infertility experience. Research on health consequences of infertility experience in women has relied heavily on clinic-based samples. This population-based study investigates the association between infertility and health and life satisfaction.
Cross-sectional population-based health study, conducted between 2006 and 2008.
All women in a county in Norway were invited. The current material is restricted to women aged 20-49 years.
A total of 9200 women participated.
Health measures were compared between women with infertility experience (infertile women) and women without infertility experience (non-infertile women). Disparities in health and life satisfaction among the infertile women were assessed.
Self-reported health, functional impairment, depression, anxiety, and life satisfaction.
Some 15.4% of the women had experienced infertility. Infertile women reported poor self-reported health and functional impairment significantly more often than non-infertile women. Childless infertile women had significantly raised adjusted risks for health complaints and dissatisfaction with life compared with non-infertile women with a child, whereas infertile women with a child did not. Differences in health and life satisfaction emerged among the infertile women, but the differences were not significant. There were no significant differences in depression and anxiety between infertile and non-infertile women, or between the two groups of infertile women (with/without a child).
The study confirms the adverse effect of infertility on health and life-satisfaction. The childless infertile women stand out as being vulnerable to the detrimental consequences of infertility.