October 1993

Self-perception of Infertility Among Female Adolescents

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics, Bowman Gray School of Medicine of Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC (Dr Rainey); and University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver (Drs Stevens-Simon and Kaplan).

Am J Dis Child. 1993;147(10):1053-1056. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1993.02160340039010

• Objective.  —To determine the prevalence and correlates of the self-perception of infertility among female adolescents.

Design.  —Cross-sectional survey.

Setting.  —Urban adolescent clinic in a neighborhood health center in Denver, Colo.

Participants.  —Two hundred sexually active, nulliparous, 14- through 18-year-old female adolescents.

Measurements/Main Results.  —Concerns about fertility were expressed by 43 (21.5%) of the 200 respondents. Logistic regression analysis revealed that the factors most strongly associated with the self-perception of infertility were as follows (odds ratios; 95% confidence interval): a history of discussing infertility with anyone (4.3; 1.8 to 10.4); desire for pregnancy (3.8; 1.4 to 10.3); boyfriend desiring pregnancy (3.0; 1.1 to 8.3); a history of sexually transmitted disease(s) (3.0; 1.2 to 7.1); and having an older boyfriend (2.6; (1.1 to 6.2). Adolescents who doubted their fertility used contraceptives less frequently than other teens (30% vs 55% of the time; P<.01).

Conclusions.  —The self-perception of infertility is common among sexually active urban female adolescents and may pose another barrier to contraceptive use. Our findings may help clinicians counsel adolescents about contraceptives more effectively.(AJDC. 1993;147:1053-1056)