Some reports suggest that women from particular ethnic backgrounds have a lower chance of IVF success. However, a new study from the US shows that for Hispanic women at least, the chances of becoming pregnant via IVF are exactly the same as for other non-Hispanic, white women.
Dr Robert Brzyski, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas, studied women undergoing IVF at his clinic over the course of ten years. Twenty-six percent of the 134 Hispanic women studied became pregnant, the same rate as for white women.
'Hispanics should be optimistic about pursuing IVF therapy', Dr Brzyski told Reuters Health.
IVF success is measured not just in terms of becoming pregnant, but in live birth rate. The study showed that 77 percent of the Hispanic women who became pregnant, gave birth successfully, compared to 91 percent of the white women. Unfortunately, the remaining women miscarried, and while a greater proportion of Hispanic women had miscarriages the study showed there was no statistically significant difference in the rate of miscarriage between the two groups.
Where the study did find a difference between the two groups was in the underlying causes of infertility. The white women were most commonly infertile due to endometriosis, aberrant growth of uterine cells, whereas the Hispanic women were more commonly diagnosed with tubal infertility, caused by damage to the fallopian tubes, which transport eggs from the ovaries to the womb.
A study by Dr Victor Fujimoto of the University of California, San Francisco, published in 2010 found that Hispanic women in the US were 13 percent less likely to have a baby after IVF than Caucasian women, even though both groups had similar pregnancy rates. Speaking to Reuters Health, Dr Fujimoto said the new study’s small sample size and mixed Hispanic population 'might have limited the researchers' ability to detect differences in IVF success'.
He also told Reuters Health: 'It is still premature to be able to make any firm conclusions about whether there are any true differences between Hispanic women and non-Hispanic Caucasian women'.