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CDC Finds Impaired Fecundity Increased in U.S. Women

Sharp demographic variations in women's reproductive experiences

MONDAY, Dec. 19 (HealthDay News) -- Increasing numbers of U.S. women are having difficulty getting pregnant, according to a 244-page report released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report also finds that women's reproductive experiences, marital status and history of sexually transmitted infections vary significantly by socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race and age at first intercourse.

"Fertility, Family Planning, and Reproductive Health of U.S. Women: Data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth" is based on data from face-to-face interviews of 7,643 women and 4,928 men ages 15 to 44, conducted in 2002-2003 by Cycle 6 of the National Survey of Family Growth.

In 2002, 12% of women ages 15 to 44 (7.3 million) had impaired fecundity, defined as difficulty conceiving or carrying a baby to term, compared to about 10% of women in 1988 and 1995, according to the report.

Unintended births are significantly more common in women with less than a high-school degree (61%) than in women with a college education (18%), according to the report. In 2002, 14% of all births were unwanted at the time of conception compared to 9% in 1995.

In 2002, never-married status among women aged 15 to 44 was reported by 61% of non-Hispanic black women, 42% of Hispanic women and 37% of white women. The percentage of all never-married women increased from 38% in 1995 to 42% in 2002.

Age at first sexual intercourse is associated with the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease or other sexually transmitted infections, according to the report. Among women who become sexually active before age 15, 26% reported having been treated for such infections compared to 10% of women who became sexually active at age 20 or older.

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