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Infertility Rates Plummet Despite Delays in Marriages

Update Date: Aug 15, 2013 10:46 AM EDT

In our current society, people have continuously delayed marriage and reproduction in order to accomplish other goals first during their 20s. Since a lot more people are getting married at a later age, others might assume that fertility is greatly affected since getting pregnant becomes more difficult with age. However, according to new federal data that was released yesterday, infertility is falling as opposed to rising.

"When you look at this downward trend, it goes against the popular wisdom of people we all know," said the report's lead author, Anjani Chandra, a health scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics according to USA Today.

The data for this report was collected via face-to-face interviews with 12, 279 women and 10,403 men. Based on data coming out of the U.S. Census, the current median age for a first marriage is 26.6 for women and 28.6 for men. These ages are the highest in U.S. history. The interviews revealed that the percentage of married women between the ages of 15 and 44 who were infertile actually decreased from 8.5 percent recorded in 1982 to six percent from 2006 to 2010. The decline, represented in numbers, is a drop from 2.4 million women to 1.5 million who were infertile. For unmarried women, the infertility rate was 4.9 percent.

The analyst also calculated the rate of impaired fecundity, which is when a woman has difficultly getting pregnant or carrying her pregnancy to full term that results in a live birth. The rate for married women was 12 percent. This rate also did not increase over the years despite what people might think. The researchers of the report stated that in the past, when couples dealt with infertility, they did not have treatment options. Today, however, new medical advances have allowed women to find alternative ways of getting pregnant and having children.

"People seem to think it's going up, when the fact is that it's remarkably stable, despite the preponderance of medical services," Chandra added. "The level of infertility is being counteracted by their pursuit of medical help to have a child. Both together are bringing down the percentage we see as infertile when we do our survey."

Even though women today have a lot of infertility treatment options, they do not come at a cheap price. In an online survey conducted by RESOLVES: The National Infertility Association, a non-profit located in McLean, VA, the analysts revealed that 60 percent of 1,694 people had little or no insurance coverage at all for infertility treatments. The director of the non-profit, Barbara Collura stated that this data set has not been released yet.

The report was from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. The survey was conducted as a part of the National Survey of Family Growth.

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