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Fertility Desires and Intentions Among U.S. Women by Disability Status: Findings from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth


Objectives We compared fertility desires and intentions among women with disabilities and women without disabilities in the United States, using a new evidence-based measure of disability. Methods We analyzed data from a sample of 5601 US women 15–44 years of age in the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth. The data were analyzed via cross-tabulation and logistic regression. We classified women into those with a disability and those without a disability. Results Women with disabilities were about as likely to want a baby (61%) as women without disabilities (60%). But only 43% of women with disabilities intended to have a baby in the future, compared with 50% of women without disabilities. Thus, the difference between the percent who want a baby and the percent who intend to have one was larger for disabled women. Women with disabilities were also less certain of their fertility intentions. Multivariate analysis shows that having a disability lowers the odds of intending another birth, after controlling for several other determinants of fertility intentions. Conclusions for Practice All women, regardless of disability status, desired more children than they actually planned to have, but the gap was larger for most groups of women with disabilities than for non-disabled women. Given the sample sizes available in this analysis, future research should use more detailed classifications of disability, however, we have shown that women living with disabilities constitute large populations with unexplored family planning needs.

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We acknowledge the National Institute of Child Health & Development (“Risks and protective factors for unintended pregnancy in women with disabilities,” #R21HD086471) and Ramin Mojtabai, M.D., MPH, PhD, for his assistance.

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Correspondence to Tina L. Bloom.

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Bloom, T.L., Mosher, W., Alhusen, J. et al. Fertility Desires and Intentions Among U.S. Women by Disability Status: Findings from the 2011–2013 National Survey of Family Growth. Matern Child Health J 21, 1606–1615 (2017).

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  • Disabled persons
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Intention
  • Health knowledge
  • Attitudes
  • Practice