"There's always been this perception these things are on the rise when the data have never supported that," says Anjani Chandra, lead author of the report, out Wednesday from the National Center for Health Statistics.
Findings are based on a survey of 22,682 men and women, ages 15-44, conducted from 2006 to 2010, but much of the focus is on ages 25-44, because that's when the report says "infertility service use may be more prevalent."
In that age group, 17% of women had ever used any infertility service, which the report says is "a significant decrease from 20% in 1995." Among childless women of those ages who have current fertility problems, the drop from 56% in 1982 to 38% most recently is "significantly less" than in 1982.
Kurt Barnhart, president of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, says the report confirms what he already knows.
"Fertility services are underutilized and not reaching everybody," says Barnhart, an OB-GYN at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Image: Negative pregnancy test, via Shutterstock