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Weight, Race Tied to Fertility Treatment Success

Reuters,  Feb 9, 2011
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Both minority women and those who are overweight may have lower rates of success with infertility treatment, some new research suggests.

In a study of nearly 32,000 infertility procedures performed at U.S. clinics in 2007, researchers found that obese women were less likely than thinner women to ultimately have a baby.

But regardless of weight, black, Hispanic and Asian women had lower success rates than white women.

Overall, 45 percent of white women became pregnant, versus 43 percent of Hispanic women, 38 percent of Asian women and 36 percent of African Americans.

What's more, of women who became pregnant and didn't miscarry in the first 22 weeks, birth rates were lower among minorities. While 85 percent of white women who carried their babies for at least 22 weeks eventually gave birth, the same was true for only about 80 percent of both Asian and Hispanic women and 76 percent of black women.

Excess weight lowered the chances of success: Fertility treatments were about 20 percent more likely to fail in obese women. Researchers have recognized this problem for a while now; not long ago, U.S. scientists reported that certain fertility drugs could help bring success rates in obese women up to equal those in normal-weight women. (See Reuters Health story of Jan 6, 2011.)

But in the current study, even among normal-weight women, pregnancy and birth rates were generally lower for minorities.

The findings, reported in the journal Fertility and Sterility, not only bolster evidence that excess weight may hinder the success of infertility treatments. They also back up previous studies showing that minority women have less success than white women.

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