Publications Summary

Document Type
Analytical Studies
Publication Topic(s)
Fertility and Fertility Preferences
Recommended Citation
Shireen Assaf. 2021. Correlates of Secondary Infertility. DHS Analytical Studies No. 79. Rockville, Maryland, USA: ICF.
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Publication Date
August 2021
Publication ID

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The experience of infertility has social, economic, and psychological effects on women and their partners. While primary infertility can be a rare occurrence, secondary infertility can be found at higher rates. Using a demographic definition of secondary infertility, this report examines the factors associated with secondary fertility at the individual level among women age 20-49 using data from 16 countries with a recent DHS survey. Secondary infertility ranged from 3% in Kenya to 25% in India. The variables examined in relation to secondary infertility included women’s sociodemographic variables, health-related variables (such as tobacco use and obesity), and the partner’s characteristics. Secondary infertility was found to increase with increasing women’s and partner’s age for all surveys, with a larger effect for women’s age. Having other children in the household who are not the women’s own children and higher wealth quintile were also found to increase the risk of secondary infertility in several countries. There was no other variable that was consistently found to be associated with secondary infertility for most surveys in the analysis. The users of these results for supporting women and couples experiencing secondary infertility should consult the country-specific findings.


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