IVF challenge for African American women

Submitted by Shelby D Burns Sun 05/08/2011

Woman Doctors have known for a long time that success rates with in vitro fertilization are linked to race and ethnicity. A new study from New York City-based IVF center suggests that a predisposition to autoimmune disease may be the source for the lack of success. Despite general improvements in the technology and the successful outcomes, that cannot be said for all racial and ethnic groups. In fact for some groups the success rate has declined. Interestingly, there is a greater prevalence of infertility among African American women than Caucasians and Asians but the reason for this is unknown. This new study, published in PLoS One was conducted by the Center for Human Reproduction in New York. They studied 339 women of Caucasian , Asian and African descent. They confirmed previous results that African patients have lower IVF success rates than the other groups. Even after leveling out for age and BMI and other factors, the disparity remained the same. Patients of African descent also had the highest rates of FMR1 (fragile X mental retardation) gene sub-genotype het-norm/low. This genotype is associated with autoimmunity disorders. “We have previously associated this specific FMR1 sub-genotype with an approximately 50% reduction in IVF pregnancy chances,” explains David Barad, MD, MS, one of the senior authors. “This new finding is in line with our previous studies on this specific FMR1 sub-genotype.” “The association of FMR1 genotypes and risk for autoimmunity presents evidence that autoimmunity may be associated with lower pregnancy rates in IVF in general,” adds Norbert Gleicher, MD, the study’s second senior author. “Autoimmunity may, thus. Be at least partially responsible for ht e racial/ethnic disparities in infertility prevalence and treatment outcomes.”

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