Are half of all college-educated American women infertile?

A third of U.S. adults say they have used fertility treatments or know someone who has

The numbers are, of course, higher still for the college-educated and 75k+.

“About four-in-ten (43%) of those with a bachelor’s degree have had some exposure to fertility treatment – either through their own experience or that of someone they know – and the share rises to 56% among those with a postgraduate degree. About half (48%) of people with family incomes of $75,000 or more also have been exposed to fertility treatment.”

This is kind of scary because it suggests that almost all fertility boost that isn’t from immigrants moving and having an initial baby boom is from artificial hormone cocktails.  Or, alternatively, that vast numbers of women are subfertile or infertile.  The link only covers IVF specifically, but it does note that the actual survey didn’t specify, and there’s a long list of non-IVF hormone cocktails out there.


3 thoughts on “Are half of all college-educated American women infertile?

  1. I know you’re smart enough not to pretend that this apparent correlation equals causation, but since my crystal ball is lighting up with predictions about all the traddy posts which will claim college-educated women are infertile “because college”, I’ll add my .02 with the disclaimer that my thoughts are worth even less.

    My husband and I were talking about this earlier, and he concluded (rightly so, I believe) that this is really about the fact that nearly all women go to college, so it only makes sense that you’d see more of these issues among college-educated women. You can earn a Bachelor’s degree by the age of 22 (our oldest was 20 when she earned hers), and still, have more than enough time to reproduce. The graduate degree holders are more likely than the undergraduate degree holders to be deliberately pushing off marriage and family for the sake of career. Many, if not most, women who earn bachelors are simply being obedient daughters!

    However, in recent years we have known three women who never darkened the door of colleges, married in their early to mid-twenties, and struggled to conceive so much that they headed off to fertility doctors to find out why their 20-something-year-old bodies weren’t doing what 20-something year-old bodies purportedly do very easily. In one case it was the husband who had the issue.

    Our thoughts? It’s something in the water, both literally and figuratively. Our food supply, lifestyles, poorer health and any number of other factors are part of the problem. While it’s certainly true that the higher education push is delaying fertility for many women (which is why infertility would naturally be higher among that population of women) college attendance does not cause infertility. LOL.


    • Agreed; looking at the data, the most common forms of infertility in this day and age are still issues like PCOS and low sperm count, not female age. Age-related infertility gets all the attention, but low fertility is still more often caused by something dull and health-related.

      I am surprised that no one has brought up the big issue that would make infertility treatments more common among the college educated: money. IVF is very expensive, and so are many other ART treatments, and they are not covered by insurance in most states. People with a higher income and/or a middle class background, and middle class friends, are bound to know more people that have indulged in a treatment that often costs $10-20K at the low end.


      • IVF is covered at this point at the kinds of employers college-educated people are employed with. The professional class has worked hard on that since the 1990s. I’m not sure there’s all that much paying out of pocket for it anymore, but it’s been a long time since I checked out the infertility-sphere to gather data on the topic.


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