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Studies Show Racial Disparity in IVF Pregnancy Rates Among Whites, Blacks

Studies Show Racial Disparity in IVF Pregnancy Rates Among Whites, Blacks

October 23, 2014 — Black women are about half as likely as white women to become pregnant after in vitro fertilization, a new study has found, according to HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Chicago, was presented this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine's annual meeting.

The researchers analyzed more than 4,000 IVF cycles over two years. They controlled for several factors that can affect pregnancy, including age, body-mass index, hormone levels and smoking habits.

Key Findings

The researchers found about 31% of white women became pregnant after IVF, compared with about 17% of black women. They also found that miscarriage rates after IVF among blacks were about double those among whites.

Although other studies have found similar results, the latest study was "quite large" and "really confirmed those other findings," said study author Eve Feinberg, an assistant clinical professor at University of Chicago Medical Center and physician at Fertility Centers of Illinois. "We were just struck by these outcomes," she added.

Second Study: Disparities Persist When Donor Eggs Used

In a different study presented at the conference, Columbia University Medical Center researchers observed racial disparities in IVF pregnancy rates even when donor eggs were used. The research controlled for uterine conditions, including fibroids and prior cesarean sections, because such conditions are more common among blacks than whites.

The study found that the implantation rate among whites was 36.3%, compared with 30.4% among blacks.

Reproductive endocrinologist Edward Illions of Montefiore Medical Center, who was not involved in the new research, said the results did not surprise him. He noted that they align with previous research showing racial disparities in IVF success rate, as well as what he has seen in his own practice. He suggested that the differences might be related to BMI, which he noted is often considerably higher in blacks in such studies.

Researchers were in agreement that future large-scale projects are necessary to determine the causes for the disparities (Salamon, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 10/21).