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July 13, 1984

The Increasing Concern With Infertility

Author Affiliations

Center for Health Promotion and Education Centers for Disease Control Atlanta

JAMA. 1984;252(2):208. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350020018008

To the Editor.—  Drs Aral and Cates1 provided several excellent answers to their question, "The Increasing Concern With Infertility: Why Now?" They failed to mention, however, one extremely important reason that an increasing proportion of infertile couples may be seeking care—there are fewer infants available for adoption by infertile couples.Reductions in numbers of infants to be adopted are due in part to fewer unmarried women placing their children for adoption. In 1971, 18.4% of white and 2.0% of black teenage mothers relinquished guardianship of their firstborn children.2 These percentages had dropped to 7.0% and virtually 0%, respectively, by 1976.2 Thus, of the more than 110,000 births to white teenagers in 1970,3 more than 20,000 were released for adoption; by 1976, only 9,500 were available to be adopted. No comparable data exist for older unwed mothers, but it is likely that they, too, keep their children.Unmarried