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.
Read: Parents hesitant to tell kids about 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.
Lack of insurance
"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.
Read: Seeking treatment for infertility
"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.
Dr Sascha Edelstein on the causes of infertility
50 million couples infertile
Obesity can cause infertility
Image: Pregnant woman looking at baby ultrasound scan from Shutterstock
See breaking news and the hottest health tips before anybody else by joining South Africa’s biggest and best health community, like health24 on Facebook now!