Significant disparities exist among patients seeking access to infertility treatment in a state with mandated insurance coverage, according to a recent survey.

"Our study found the vast majority of patients seeking IVF treatment were Caucasian, highly educated and wealthy compared to the general population," said Dr. Tarun Jain, University of Illinois at Chicago assistant professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility.

Jain is the lead author of an article in the July issue of Fertility and Sterility.

Patients at a large infertility clinic in Massachusetts were surveyed to collect demographic and socioeconomic information such as age, ethnicity, education level and income.

The researchers found that among the 561 respondents, nearly half of the patients had advanced degrees and more than 60 percent had an annual household income over $100,000. None of patients had less than a high school diploma.

Most states do not require private insurance companies to pay for infertility treatment. Massachusetts is one of four states (along with Illinois, New Jersey and Rhode Island) that do.

In a previous study, Jain and colleagues found the use of IVF services were three-fold higher in states that required comprehensive insurance coverage compared to those states with no mandated coverage.


"We expected to find greater diversity among patients who sought IVF treatment in a state with mandated insurance coverage," Jain said. "Interestingly, African American and Latino women were under-represented, while Chinese and other Asian women were over-represented in accessing infertility services."

Jain said this is the first study to highlight disparities in access to infertility services. He said the disparities may be due to a lack of adequate insurance coverage among lower socioeconomic groups, cultural bias against infertility treatment, racial discrimination or a lack of referrals from primary care physicians.

Jain and co-author Dr. Mark Hornstein from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School write that further studies are needed to better understand health disparities in infertility treatment.

For more information about reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, visit

Tags: insurance treatments

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Manish Shah February 22, 2015
Is’t a disparity? The respondents found with higher education and mostly with hefty income are yet strayed in numbers than people who require comprehensive insurance coverage in other states! How would we see it? Insurance money, does it really make difference in seeking out infertility treatments rather? Or is it all about one yearning to have a little one at available costs, coming out of the dark side that they once felt with no hopes of conceiving them?
Manish Shah February 15, 2015
Indeed, an infertility can well be treated depending upon the cause of it. Many results speak about the great success. Psychological stress being the pain part of infertility needs ever to be treated with accurate counseling and success of treatment. Nice info, overall; links given are good to go with!
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