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NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite concerns that minority women might have less success using in vitro fertilization (IVF), a new study finds that Hispanic women are just as likely to get pregnant and have a baby as non-Hispanic whites.
"We were encouraged that their outcomes were similar," said study researcher Dr. Robert Brzyski, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Brzyski and his colleagues looked back on the outcomes of several hundred women who underwent IVF at his clinic over a 10-year period.
Twenty-six out of every 100 Hispanic women who had the procedure became pregnant. White women had the same rate of pregnancy.
Of them, 77 percent of Hispanic women and 91 percent of white women went on to deliver babies (the rest of the women had miscarriages).
Though a greater proportion of Hispanic women had miscarriages, the difference was likely to have happened by chance, the authors concluded from a statistical analysis.
"Hispanics should be optimistic about pursuing IVF therapy," Brzyski told Reuters Health.
Brzyski's group did find differences between Hispanic and white women regarding the cause of their infertility.
Hispanic women were more likely to have a diagnosis of tubal infertility -- or damage to the fallopian tubes, which lead eggs from the ovaries to the uterus -- while white women were more likely to have endometriosis, an abnormal growth of uterine cells.
Brzyski said he does not know why this was the case.
The vast majority of the Hispanics in his study were Mexican-American.
"We're reassured by the data," Brzyski said, "but it's still worthy to explore in more detail other settings, other clinics to confirm the findings in other populations."
A 2010 study by Dr. Victor Fujimoto at the University of California, San Francisco and his colleagues found that Hispanics nationwide -- which included women of many ethnicities -- had a 13 percent lower probability of having a baby after IVF than Caucasian women.
"We can only theorize at this point (about why Hispanic women had less success), because we really don't know," Fujimoto said.
Fujimoto's group also found that Hispanic women were just as likely as white women to get pregnant from IVF.
He said that his results don't necessarily conflict with Brzyski's findings, which are published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
He added that the current study's small sample size, which included 134 Hispanic women, and homogeneous population might have limited the researchers' ability to detect differences in IVF success.
"It's still premature to be able to make any firm conclusions about whether there are any true differences between Hispanic women and non-Hispanic Caucasian women," Fujimoto told Reuters Health.
SOURCE: bit.ly/ilKIV0 Fertility and Sterility, online May 5, 2011.