Potential causes of ethnic group disparities in infertility: a hospital database study

D. Lavu, H. Uppal, A. Katragadda, A. Alasseri, R. Potluri

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


Introduction - Lower success rates of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in South East Asian countries compared to Western countries in informal studies and surveys was considered a reflection of variations in methodology and expertise. However, recent studies on the effects of ethnicity on success rates of infertility procedures in western countries have suggested other inherent contributing factors to the ethnic disparity but the evidence evaluating these is lacking. In our study we aim to investigate some of the comorbidities that might cause ethnic disparity to infertility and related procedures from hospital admissions data.
Methods - Anonymous hospital admissions data on patients of various ethnic groups with infertility, comorbidities and infertility procedures from multiple hospitals in Birmingham andManchester, UK between 2000 and 2013 were obtained from the local health authority computerised hospital activity analysis register using ICD-10 and OPCS coding systems. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 20.Results Of 522 223 female patients aged 18 and over, there were44 758 (8.4%) patients from South Asian (SA) community. 1156(13.4%) of the 8653 patients coded for infertility were SA, whichis a considerably higher proportion of the background SA population. For IVF procedures, the percentage of SA increased to15.4% (233 of the total 1479 patients). The mean age of SA codedfor infertility (30.6 ± 4.7 SD years versus 32.8 ± 4.9 SD years)and IVF (30.4 ± 4.3 SD years versus 32.7 ± 4.4 SD years) was significantly lower than caucasian patien ts (P < 0.001). A multivariate logistic regression model looking at patients with infertility, accounting for variations in age, showed that SA have significantly higher prevalence of hypothyroidism, obesity andiron-deficiency anaemia compared to caucasians but lower prevalence of endometriosis. Interestingly, psychiatric and psychological conditions diagnoses were seldom registered in infertility patients.
Conclusion - Other studies suggest that various cultural, lifestyles, psychosocial and socio-economic factors may explain the disparities in IVF success rates between South Asians and caucasians. The fact that SA infertility and IVF patients, in ou rstudy, were significantly younger than caucasians and that their proportion is considerably higher than the background South Asian population suggests the influence of these factors. A significant psychiatric disease burden in other conditions and low numbers in our data suggest under diagnosis in this group.Despite the limitations of the coding data, from our study, we propose that hypothyroidism, obesity and/or iron-deficiency anaemia should be considered for the ethnic disparity. Further research in this topic is essential to fully investigate the reasons for such ethnic disparities.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberEP6.20
Pages (from-to)85
Number of pages1
Issue numbers2
Early online date26 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2014
EventRCOG World Congress 2014 - Hyderabad, India
Duration: 28 Mar 201430 May 2014

Bibliographical note

Special Issue: Abstracts of the RCOG World Congress 2014, 28–30 March 2014, Hyderabad, India. Abstracts were reviewed by the RCOG 2014 World Congress committee rather than as part of the BJOG peer review process, and should not be quoted as peer-reviewed by BJOG in any subsequent publication
April 2014


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