Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Are Uncertain Fertility Intentions Temporary?

Women’s Health Issues; ePub 2016 Nov 9; Jones

There is a substantial minority of women who are uncertain whether they want to have more children, although this seems to be a temporary or transitional stage for most, a recent study found. Panel data was examined from a national sample of 2,353 nonsterilized US women aged 18 to 39 years gained at three points in time between 2012 and 2013. Women who indicated they were “not sure” if they wanted to have any (more) children were classified as uncertain. Researchers found:

  • While 39% of the population sample reported uncertain fertility intentions on at least 1 survey, only 9% were uncertain at all 3.
  • Characteristics associated with uncertainty include being aged ≥30 years, having 1 or more children, perceiving one’s partner to have uncertain childbearing intentions, and having a strong desire to avoid pregnancy.
  • Characteristics associated with a decreased likelihood of uncertainty included relationship happiness and having a recent discussion about childbearing intentions with a health care provider.


Jones RK. Are uncertain fertility intentions a temporary or long-term outlook? Findings from a panel study. [Published online ahead of print November 9, 2016]. Women’s Health Issues. doi:10.1016/j.whi.2016.10.001.