New research suggests that ethnicity may affect the chances of ending up with a baby after fertility treatment. A team from The University of Nottingham and the fertility unit at Royal Derby Hospital analysed data from the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to see whether ethnicity had an impact on treatment outcomes, and found that there were some significant differences. According to the data, White British women are more likely to get pregnant with IVF or ICSI than women from a number of other ethnic groups.
This is the biggest study to look at the outcomes for individual ethnic groups in this way, and it considered the number of eggs collected and fertilised and the number of embryos produced as well as the pregnancy and live birth rate. The researchers also considered potential reasons for the differences in outcomes for the different ethnic groups and discuss factors such as genetic background, environment, diet, socio-economic and cultural factors and attitudes to medical care and accessing fertility treatment. They also discuss the fact that South Asian women are at higher risk of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) which can affect egg quality and success rates.
There has been a lot of discussion in recent years about coeliac disease and fertility as it is often suggested that gluten intolerance can be a hidden but common cause of fertility problems. Coeliac disease is a serious form of gluten intolerance, and it is concerns about this possible link with fertility problems that has led to suggestions that people who are having difficulty getting pregnant should consider cutting out gluten. The research carried out by a team from the University of Nottingham mentioned here previously seems to be in the news again after the team found that women who have coeliac disease do not seem to be more likely to seek medical help for problems conceiving.
The Nottingham team, led by Dr Nafeesa Dhalwani from the University’s Division of Epidemiology and Public Health, studied more than two million women to see whether there were links between coeliac disease and fertility and found that in most age groups there was no increased rate of fertility problems. The one anomaly was among women between the ages of 25 and 29 where those who’d been diagnosed with the illness were slightly more likely to seek medical help for fertility problems – but interestingly those who had coeliac disease but hadn’t been diagnosed didn’t show the same increase.