Black women are nearly twice as likely to struggle with fertility as their white counterparts. But why? Diane Ashton, M.D., an obstetrician and Deputy Medical Director for the March of Dimes, recently outlined 5 of the most common factors impacting among black women.
5) Uterine Fibroids.
Dr. Ashton said, "Black women have about a three times greater incidence of fibroids compared to white women.”
Black women also seem to have these benign tumors of smooth muscle and the proteins collagen and elastin in more sizable and plentiful quantity.
4) Too Much Weight
Dr. Ashton stated, "We do know that African-American women tend to have higher rates of obesity and that causes hormonal disruptions that can affect their ability to become pregnant."
Studies show that it’s more difficult for an obese women to get pregnant than it is for a woman of a healthier weight -- possibly because of how excess fat affects hormone levels and inflammation throughout the body.
Sexually transmitted infections can also increase the risk of infertility, according to Dr. Ashton. Chlamydia, in particular, Dr. Ashton says, is "a more indolent type of infection and it can cause a lot of damage before a woman knows she has it."
Gonorrhea’s complications can also damage a woman’s fertility by creating scaring in the fallopian tubes which can make it difficult for an egg to pass through.
According to the CDC, gonorrhea was 18.7 times more prevalent among blacks than among whites in 2010. The same is true for chlamydia, which is eight times higher among blacks than whites.
Dr. Ashton says, "If you're getting these infections early in life, it probably does not bode well for fertility later on."
Though 2 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age have endometriosis, women of African descent had been thought to be seldom, if ever, affected. A study released last year at Howard University Hospital, however, found that African-American women with endometriosis are frequently misdiagnosed. More of these women are suffering from the condition than the old statistics have indicated.
1) Male Infertility Factor
"Before a woman even undergoes an infertility workup, you need to make sure that you've ruled out male infertility," Dr. Ashton advises. "In general, they say about 30 percent is male contribution, 30 percent female and 30 percent of the time you may not be able to find a recognizable reason why."
Whatever the cause, a woman who can receive a letter from their doctor stating that there is no known reason why she could not carry a healthy pregnancy to term may be able to experience the joys of pregnancy and childbirth through embryo adoption. Find out more at EmbryoAdoption.org.
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