IVF More Successful for White Women?

Oddly enough, a new study from published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that white women were more likely to get pregnant after IVF treatments than women from any other ethnic background. After examining IVF success rates for 1,517 women between 2006 and 2011, researchers found that 44 percent of white women had babies after their first cycle of fertility treatment (including in-vitro fertilization and intro-cytoplasmic sperm injection) compared to 38 percent of South East Asian women, 23 percent of African-Caribbean women, and 21 percent of Middle East Asian women.

The disparity occurs despite all of the women appearing to have the same chances of having a baby based on quality of their egg reserves. While researchers aren't sure why white women have higher IVF success rates, they hypothesize that it could be a matter of genetics as well as social and environmental factors.

"Further research into genetic background as a potential determinant of IVF outcome, as well as the influencing effects of lifestyle and cultural factors on reproductive outcomes is needed," said lead researcher Dr. Walid Maalouf.

John Thorp, BJOG deputy editor-in-chief, is quoted in The Mirror as believing the study's findings will help women paint a more realistic picture of success rates for women undergoing fertility treatment. "It could be used to encourage women from ethnic backgrounds to seek treatment earlier and improve the likelihood of a positive pregnancy outcome," he said.

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Image of woman with pregnancy test courtesy of Shutterstock.

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