HealthDay News — Disparities exist in access to infertility care for women in the United States, according to a study published online June 28 in Fertility and Sterility.

Angela S. Kelley, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues examined the rates of infertility and access to infertility care among women aged 20 to 44 years who participated in the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2013 and 2016.

The researchers found that the rate of infertility was 12.5 percent. Infertility rates were higher with increasing age and body mass index. Infertility rates did not differ by race/ethnicity, education, income, U.S. citizenship, insurance, or primary location of health care. Compared to women with a college degree, those with less than a high school diploma accessed infertility care less often (5 versus 11.6 percent). Infertility care was sought less by women with incomes less than $25,000 than those with incomes above $100,000 (5.4 versus 11.6 percent). Infertility care was accessed less by non-U.S. citizens versus U.S. citizens (6.9 versus 9.4 percent); fewer visits were reported by uninsured women versus insured women (5.9 versus 9.9 percent). Compared with those who relied on a hospital outpatient unit, women who used the emergency department as their primary medical location reported accessing infertility care less (1.4 versus 14.9 percent).

“We hope these findings spur more research and policy changes to address inequities in infertility access,” Kelley said in a statement.

One author is a consultant for a pharmaceutical company and another receives grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

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