Partnered Decisions? U.S. Couples and Medical Help-Seeking for Infertility


Department of Sociology, The Pennsylvania State University, 211 Oswald Tower, University Park, PA 16802 (


We examined male partners' influence on the decision to seek medical help for infertility using the National Study of Fertility Barriers. Building upon an existing help-seeking framework, we incorporated characteristics of both partners from 219 heterosexual couples who had ever perceived a fertility problem. In logistic regression analyses, we found an association between couple-level attitudes and medical help-seeking even when other predisposing and enabling conditions existed. Overall, the findings highlight that both partners contribute to the infertility help-seeking process, and that different factors may play a role in different stages of help-seeking. Studies of infertility help-seeking need to be more inclusive of the context that these decisions are embedded within to better understand service use.