Exploring the relationship between history of infertility and the experience of menopausal symptoms.

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The aim of the study is to examine longitudinal associations of history of infertility with menopausal symptoms in midlife.


Six hundred ninety-five midlife women (≥45 y old or reporting ≥12 mo of amenorrhea at the midlife visit) in Project Viva, a prospective cohort enrolled 1999-2002 during pregnancy and followed for 18 years after enrollment ("midlife visit"). Exposure was history of infertility defined as time to pregnancy ≥12 months (≥6 mo if ≥35 y), use of medical treatment to conceive, or infertility consultation or treatment in the 6-month preceding enrollment. The primary outcome was score below or above the median on the Menopause Rating Scale (MRS). Secondary outcomes included individual symptom score on the MRS and self-reported age of menopause.


A total of 36.6% had a history of infertility in their lifetime. At the time of MRS completion, the women with prior infertility were older (53.4 [SD, 3.8] vs 51.2 [SD, 3.7] y) than those without infertility and a larger proportion had reached menopause (62% vs 40%). Women with prior infertility were more likely to score above the median on the MRS (Adjusted Odds Ratio [aOR], 1.45; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04-2.01) and had higher odds for reporting any depressive mood (aOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.12-2.16) and irritability (aOR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.13-2.19). There was a trend toward greater severity of sleep problems among women with prior infertility. There was no association of prior infertility with report of other menopausal symptoms or age of menopause.


Our findings suggest that women with prior infertility are more likely to have an MRS score above the median and experience depressive mood, irritability, and sleep problems during midlife than women without infertility. These findings have implications for mental health screening among midlife women.

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Exploring the relationship between history of infertility and the experience of menopausal symptoms.
Fitz VW, Soria-Contreras DC, Rifas-Shiman SL, Shifren JL, Oken E, Chavarro JE