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IVF Doesn’t Work Well on Black Women

Black Health Matters / Our Health  / Women's Health  / Women  / IVF Doesn’t Work Well on Black Women

IVF Doesn’t Work Well on Black Women

We’re about half as likely to get pregnant through this common form of assisted reproduction

When black women undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), we are only about half as likely as white women to become pregnant, according to a new study. A separate study found that the disparity exists even when donor eggs are used.

In the first study, researchers from University of Chicago analyzed data from more than 4,000 IVF cycles over two years and concluded that about 31 percent of white patients became pregnant after IVF, compared to about 17 percent of black patients. Miscarriage after IVF was also more common among blacks than whites.

“We were just struck by these outcomes,” says study author Eve Feinberg, M.D., an assistant clinical professor at University of Chicago Medical Center and a physician at Fertility Centers of Illinois. “They had been reported previously in other studies, but our study, which is quite large, really confirmed those other findings.”

In the second study, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center in New York found racial differences for IVF success persisted between black and white women—even when donor eggs were used and even after uterine conditions such as fibroids or prior cesarean surgery (both of which affect black women more) were taken into account.

IVF, performed in the United States for more than 30 years, is one of the most common forms of assisted reproduction. Roughly 65,000 babies were born here in 2012 through 176,000 assisted reproduction cycles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s an expensive process, typically costing more than $10,000 per cycle.

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BHM Edit Staff