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White women more likely to seek fertility treatment

Updated: Aug 20, 2014 02:24 PM
© Dynamic Graphics / Creatas / Thinkstock © Dynamic Graphics / Creatas / Thinkstock

(HealthDay News) -- White, straight women are much more likely to seek treatment for infertility than minority, bisexual or lesbian women, a new study finds.

Researchers examined data gathered from nearly 20,000 American women, aged 21 to 44, who took part in polls in 2002 and 2006-2010, conducted as part of the National Survey of Family Growth study.

In the first poll, 13 percent of white, heterosexual women said they sought treatment for infertility. This ranged from getting advice from doctors to more advanced measures such as fertility testing and drugs, surgery and artificial insemination.

In comparison, infertility treatment was sought by 7 percent of minority heterosexual women, 7 percent of white lesbian and bisexual women, and 1 percent racial minority lesbian and bisexual women.

The numbers in the second poll were 13 percent, 6 percent, 7 percent, and 7 percent, respectively, according to the study published recently in the journal Health Psychology.

"White, heterosexual women have apparently been the prime beneficiaries of the recent surge in medical infertility treatments," study author Bernadette Blanchfield, a doctoral student at the University of Virginia, said in a journal news release.

Lack of insurance was a major reason why minority lesbian and bisexual women didn't seek infertility treatments, the researchers found.

"There have been relatively few studies addressing the sexual and reproductive health of lesbian and bisexual women, but these findings reveal that sexual minority women do face inequities in fertility care. Further research on the access to and use of reproductive health care by lesbian and bisexual women is vital to understanding health disparities in the U.S.," Blanchfield said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development has more about fertility treatments for women.

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