Infertility and Fertility Intentions, Desires, and Outcomes among U.S. Women

Karina M. Shreffler, Oklahoma State University
Julia McQuillan, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Arthur Greil, Alfred University
Stacy Tiemeyer, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Kathleen S. Slauson-Blevins, Old Dominion University

Little is known about how the experience of infertility or identification as someone with infertility shapes women’s fertility intentions, desires, or birth outcomes. Using a national sample of American women of reproductive age, we assess how fertility and parity status is associated with fertility intentions and desires, as well as how fertility and parity status at one time point predict birth three years later. We find that infertility is associated with lower fertility intentions. However, women who have experienced infertility and identify as a person with infertility express greater desires to have a baby and a higher ideal number of children. Surprisingly, we find that they are also significantly more likely to give birth between waves. These findings have important theoretical implications for our understanding of the meaning of intentions for those who think the outcomes are uncertain, as well as for empirical research on fertility.

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 Presented in Session P3. Fertility Intentions and Behaviors