Sociology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Human Fertility 14:3 (2011), pp. 160-166; doi: 10.3109/14647273.2011.587229


Copyright © 2011 The British Fertility Society 2011, published by informa healthcare. Used by permission.


Women with prior pregnancy but no live birth are inconsistently termed as either ‘primary infertile’ or ‘secondary infertile’ in psychosocial studies of infertile women. The goal of this study was to discover whether infertile women who had experienced pregnancies but no live births were more similar in attitudes and behavior to infertile women who had not experienced pregnancies or to those who had live births. We used the National Survey of Fertility Barriers (NSFB), which contains self-reported data from a probability-based sample of US women aged between 25 and 45, to accomplish our goal. In this cross-sectional analysis, infertile women who had not experienced pregnancies were compared on the basis of fertility-specific distress (FSD) and medical help-seeking for infertility to women who had had pregnancies with live births and women with pregnancies but no live births. Women were interviewed by telephone in their homes. Data of 1,027 women who had had an infertility episode within the past 10 years were analyzed using multiple regression and logistic regression. Infertile women who had never been pregnant experience higher levels of FSD and were more likely to seek treatment than infertile women who had been pregnant, regardless of the outcome of the pregnancy.