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Black IVF patients have lowest chance of success, new report shows

A new report has shown that black women have the least chance of IVF treatment success

The research was carried out by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority(HFEA) and found that women from black and ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to have a baby.

The new report, ‘Ethnic diversity in fertility treatment’ showed that black women have a 23 percent chance of success, while the success percentage of mixed and white women stood at 30.

Other key findings include the number of black women who had fertility issues with the fallopian tubes at 31 percent, compared to 18 percent of overall IVF patients.

The HFEA said that while disparities for black patients are the most notable, other ethnic groups also have worse outcomes when going through fertility treatment. Asian patients, who represent a larger proportion of IVF users at 14 percent while comprising seven percent of the UK population, are struggling to access donor eggs if needed. The report shows that 89 percent of egg donors are white, followed by four percent are Asian, four percent for mixed and black, resulting in the use of white eggs in 52 percent of IVF cycles with an Asian patient.

Sally Cheshire, Chair of the HFEA, said action must be taken to give all patients who are offered IVF treatment a level playing field.

She said: “This report is very timely as there has been much discussion recently of health inequalities amongst ethnic communities, with many of these being highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We want anyone who is struggling to conceive to have equal access to fertility treatment and understand their chances of being successful. What is clear from this report is that there are several disparities with fertility treatment across ethnic groups that need to be addressed.

“During my time as HFEA Chair we have worked hard with the sector to reduce the risks from multiple births for women and any children born and I would like to see more work done to address this amongst Black patients.

“Whilst we currently do not have definitive explanations for why these differences exist between patients of different ethnicities, it’s crucial that more work is done, and that action is taken to level the playing field for all our patients.

“The HFEA will drive this work forward, working closely with stakeholders in the sector, patients, and other organisations to ensure all patients receive the highest standards of care as they try for a much longed-for family.

“We are committed to using our data, regulatory powers, and feedback from patients, working with our partners to ensure all patients have fair and equal access to treatment and care throughout their fertility journey.”

Gwenda Burns, chief executive for charity Fertility Network UK, said the charity was deeply concerned about the report findings.

She said: “We are deeply concerned by the health inequalities for ethnic minority fertility patients highlighted in this new report from the HFEA, and it is vital that the underlying reasons for this are thoroughly investigated and addressed.

“We believe every patient should have access to high quality care, and we are committed to working with the HFEA, professionals, and other stakeholders to ensure equity for all.

“We know how isolating fertility problems can be, and today we are launching a new peer support group for Black women alongside our existing Asian group. We aim to provide spaces for all patients to be open about the issues they face so we can make certain every voice is heard.”

Are you a woman of BAME origin and struggling with infertility? We’d love to hear your experiences, email mystory@ivfbabble.com

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