Unspeakable Realities Entwined: Child Abuse & Infertility

Are there links between child abuse and infertility?

April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. Child abuse is not something that most of us like to even think about, especially those who are longing for children of their own to care for and love.

To do our part in raising awareness, we explored any connections we could find on child abuse/neglect and the infertility experience:

  • If there's a causal relationship, in either direction, and
  • if there are any reputable statistics on occurrence rates of both within same families.

We also polled our community members to get a more informal feel for any connections.

Here's what we found:

When asked about any reported incidence of the abuse of children who were created through assisted reproductive technology, Dr. Machelle Seibel commented, "The reverse is usually the case. Infertility individuals are often the victims of abuse, not the cause......several studies have shown that women presenting with a history of infertility have a higher than expected rate of sexual abuse in childhood. For this reason, it is reasonable to include questions related to this possibility as part of the infertility evaluation."

Other physicians queried echoed Dr. Seibel's sentiment, particularly citing that abuse of children who were created through infertility treatment is most likely uncommon due to the much-wanted nature of these children.