the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

African American Women & Infertility: It’s About Education

I love press releases.  Especially one’s that remind me of important truths. Like;  “Infertility affects one in eight couples or 7.3 million people in the U.S.  12% of women of reproductive age experience difficulty having a baby and black women have twice the odds of infertility compared to white women.  11.5% of black women report infertility compared to 7% of white women but yet studies indicate that black women use infertility services less often.  Why?  “In the past, there was a lack of attention toward the problem of infertility in minority women, and most marketing campaigns of infertility awareness and treatment were not directed towards us.  This resulted in a lack of awareness about infertility as a disease and about avenues for seeking evaluation and treatment,” says Dr. Desiree McCarthy-Keith, the newest reproductive endocrinologist to join Georgia Reproductive Specialists.  “Cost of infertility services can be prohibitive to couples from all ethnic backgrounds and cost may be a factor for some black women as well,” she continues.  “I believe lack of access to infertility care and limited awareness about evaluation and treatment options can also be substantial obstacles that keep many women from receiving the care that they need.”

This is a good press release that I am happy to pick up.  Sure, it’s announcing a new doctor to a known practice. But, there was  good information in there that everyone woman of color should know;

“The leading cause of infertility among black women is uterine fibroids.  Black women develop uterine fibroids at a younger age than white women and the incidence of fibroids is higher in black women at every age, compared to white women.  By the end of the reproductive years, the incidence of uterine fibroids in black women is 80%.  As a result, black women have hysterectomies for treatments of fibroids more often than women from any other ethnic group.  Dr. McCarthy-Keith, whose medical research focuses on the molecular mechanisms of uterine fibroid regulation, states that “black women are disproportionately affected by uterine fibroids and uterine fibroids are a common diagnosis among black women undergoing infertility treatment.”

Lack of information holds so many people locked down and isolated. Thank heavens that in the African American community there is now The Broken Brown Egg, a national support group created to support the needs of people of color who are trying to conceive.

One of the biggest issues is getting people to come out to get the information that they need. Shame is a big stopper.  I am so grateful to “A Family of My Own” which will be holding the first face to face in person fertility conference on infertility  on April 21st,  on the east coast – since the time that I left The American Fertility Association. I think The AFA held one conference the year that I left. After that, the tri-state area has been void of educational conferences where people who are trying to conceive can come out “in person” and get the experience of support and information in human time. There is a difference.

The internet is great for so much. But nothing beats a real conference.  I hope that there will be people of all colors there.  I will be there.  And I know that it will change lives.


About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
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Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

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