Depression More Common In Women (But Not Men) Who Experience Infertility Interview with:

Jessica Datta Department of Social & Environmental Health Research London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine London

Jessica Datta

Jessica Datta
Department of Social & Environmental Health Research
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
London What is the background for this study?

Response: The paper presents an analysis of data from the third National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal-3). Natsal-3 is a survey of more than 15,000 women and men aged 16-74 resident in Britain, conducted in 2010-2012, which includes a wide range of questions about sexual relationships and behaviour and reproductive history.

In this paper we analysed responses to the questions: ‘Have you ever had a time, lasting 12 months or longer, when you and a partner were trying for a pregnancy but it didn’t happen?’ and ‘Have you (or a partner) ever sought medical or professional help about infertility?’. As well as calculating the prevalence of experience of infertility and help seeking, we looked at associated factors e.g. education, employment, relationship status. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that one in eight women and one in ten men had experienced infertility but nearly half of them (42.7% of women and 46.8% of men) said they had not sought medical help. Infertility and help seeking were more commonly reported by people with higher socio-economic status. We also found that women (but not men) aged 50 or younger who had experienced infertility were more likely to have symptoms of depression and feel dissatisfaction with their sex life than those who had not. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: We found the prevalence of infertility was highest among women aged 35-44. Given evidence of the postponement of motherhood, particularly among highly educated women, and the implications for women’s fertility, we advocate social policies that support working parents to manage the responsibilities of both employment and bringing up children. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Our data do not allow us to explain why a sizeable minority of people do not seek help for infertility but we consider inequalities in help seeking to be of concern and should be further explored.

Our findings on the associations between infertility and women’s well-being are exploratory and we recommend further research into the long term impact of infertility and fertility treatments on both well-being and intimate relationships. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


J. Datta, M.J. Palmer, C. Tanton, L.J. Gibson, K.G. Jones, W. Macdowall, A. Glasier, P. Sonnenberg, N. Field, C.H. Mercer, A.M. Johnson, K. Wellings. Prevalence of infertility and help seeking among 15 000 women and men. Human Reproduction, 2016; dew123 DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dew123

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]

Last Updated on July 4, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD