Fertility treatments are revealed to be less effective for black patients in a new report ‘The Ethnic Diversity in Fertility Treatment’ by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). This report found that black patients undergoing IVF treatment have a birth rate of 23% compared to white and Asian patients who have a 30% birth rate. The report noted that black patients are starting IVF treatments two years after the average age of most patients, which is 34.6 years. Also, they have a 31% chance of dealing with fertility issues relating to fallopian tubes compared to the majority patients, who have a 17% chance of dealing with this issue.
The research revealed that black patients have a 14% higher chance of experiencing multiple births due to undergoing double embryo transfer. The HFEA is concerned about this because multiple births pose the greatest health risk to all patients who undergo this treatment. Considering the greater health risks which black patients face, the HFEA recommend that they should more carefully consider the advantages and risks of undergoing double embryo transfer treatment.
Gwenda Burns, the Chief Executive for the charity Fertility Network UK, commented that the racial disparities revealed in this research is unacceptable and will be further investigated. She states that every patient has the right to good quality healthcare regardless of their ethnicity. Also, a new support group for black women dealing with fertility issues has been set up to give them a safe space to voice their concerns. The HFEA wants to address health disparities in fertility treatments by urging all fertility clinics to share with their patients their likelihood of conceiving, including ethnicity as a factor.