• Open Access

Early users of fertility treatment with hormones and IVF: women who live in major cities and have private health insurance


Correspondence to:
Danielle L. Herbert, The University of Queensland, School of Population Health, Public Health Building, Herston, Brisbane, Queensland 4006. Fax: +617 3365 5540; e-mail: d.herbert@sph.uq.edu.au


Objective: To identify early users (women aged <34 years) of fertility treatment with hormones and in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of infertile women from fertility clinics (n=59) and from the community (Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health participants) who had (n=121) or had not (n=110) used hormones/IVF as treatment for infertility. Associations between socio-demographic, reproductive and lifestyle factors, medical conditions and recurrent symptoms and using treatment (or not) were analysed using multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Among infertile women who had used treatment (community vs clinic), women from clinics had lower odds of living outside major cities, using hormones only, i.e., not IVF, or recurrent headaches/migraines, severe tiredness, or stiff/painful joints; and higher odds of recent diagnoses of urinary tract infection or anxiety disorder. Compared to infertile women who had not used treatment, women from clinics had lower odds of living outside major cities, recurrent allergies or severe tiredness; and higher odds of having private health insurance for hospital or ancillary services, recent diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome or recurrent constipation.

Conclusions: Compared to infertile women in the community, living in major cities and having private health insurance are associated with early use of treatment for infertility at specialist clinics by women aged <34 years.

Implications: These results provided evidence of inequity of services for infertile women.