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13-09-2009 | Gynaecology | Article

Less than half of infertile women seek treatment


Journal abstract

MedWire News: Just half of infertile women use hormonal and/or IVF treatment, with those diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis the most proactive in seeking advice and treatment, an Australian study concludes.

Danielle Herbert and colleagues, from the University of Queensland, studied 9145 women from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health aged 28-33 years who had completed up to four mailed surveys over 10 years.

Of 5,936 women who had ever tried to conceive or had been pregnant, 17.3 percent reported that they were infertile. Of these, 71.7 percent sought advice but only 49.6 percent used hormonal or IVF treatment.

Women were significantly more likely to seek advice for infertility if they had PCOS or endometriosis, at odds ratios of 4.89 and 5.45, respectively. Such women were also significantly more likely to use infertility treatment, at odds ratios of 2.89 and 1.92, respectively.

Logistic regression analysis revealed that infertility was significantly associated with never having been pregnant and a history of miscarriage, at respective odds ratios of 7.17 and 4.04. Infertility was also significantly linked to being single and diagnoses of PCOS and endometriosis.

The researchers conclude: “There is a strong need to raise awareness of infertility issues and treatment options among the general population and medical professionals from whom advice is sought in the first instance.”

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a part of Springer Science+Business Media. © Current Medicine Group Ltd; 2009

By Liam Davenport