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Review Examines Racial, Ethnic Reproductive Health Disparities

Differences identified in infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome and reproductive aging

THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Racial and ethnic disparities of uncertain etiology exist in several areas of reproductive health, suggesting a need for further research to understand the source of the disparities and to optimize care, according to a review published in the May issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Heather G. Huddleston, M.D., of the University of California in San Francisco, and colleagues reviewed currently available information regarding racial and ethnic disparities in reproductive health, including infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and reproductive aging.

Disparities were found in all three areas. The authors write that an increasing body of knowledge suggests Asian, black and Hispanic women have reduced in vitro fertilization outcomes and infertility access compared with white women. They also found evidence of differences in reproductive and metabolic phenotypes of women in these three groups presenting with PCOS compared with white women. In addition, they write that there appear to be differences in reproductive aging in all racial and ethnic groups.

"Differences have been identified in each area, but the clinical significance of these differences and the biologic versus social underpinnings remain to be determined. It is acknowledged that there are major knowledge gaps in our understanding of these racial and ethnic disparities. Further research to improve our understanding of the source of these disparities is critical to optimizing the delivery of reproductive care across our increasingly diverse society in the United States," the authors write.

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