A new study has found that fertility treatment is less successful among Asian patients than white counterparts.
The HFEA’s first ever report on ethnic diversity in fertility treatment found that for people between the ages of 30 and 34 the birth rate was 25% which is lower than the national average.
The study found that Asian people are over represented among IVF users comprising 14% of IVF patients compared to 7% of the total population. However, there is a shortage of donors from a similar background. With 89% of total donors being white, half would have to rely on eggs from a white donor.
“Today’s HFEA report highlights the stark inequalities faced by BAME communities when it comes to fertility treatment in the UK and the need for a coordinated national effort to tackle the lower rates of both access and success in comparison to white patients,” said Professor Greeta Nargund, NHS and Medical Director of CREATE Fertility.
People from BAME communities have a greater reliance on NHS funded treatment which makes them even more vulnerable to the post code lottery for IVF funding. Those who cannot access it through the NHS are more likely to do so privately. Delays in getting access to treatment can significantly reduce success rates.
The findings also confirm the higher prevalence of certain conditions among BAME communities including tubal damage and fibroids among black women and ovulation issues among Asian women. The report also highlighted lifestyle factors due to socio economic inequality, which could reduce success rates within the community.
Addressing the problems highlighted in these findings, say the report authors will require educational and awareness drives about the importance an early diagnosis. Ultimately, though, progress will only really come by addressing the underlying causes of social and economic equality.