Cultural factors contributing to health care disparities among patients with infertility in Midwestern United States

Stacey A. Missmer, David B. Seifer, Tarun Jain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Objective: To identify cultural differences in access to infertility care. Design: Cross-sectional, self-administered survey. Setting: University hospital-based fertility center. Patient(s): Thirteen hundred fifty consecutive women who were seen for infertility care. Intervention(s): None. Main Outcome Measure(s): Details about demographic characteristics, health care access, and treatment opinions based on patient race or ethnicity. Result(s): The median age of participants was 35 years; 41% were white, 28% African American, 18% Hispanic, and 7% Asian. Compared with white women, African American and Hispanic women had been attempting to conceive for 1.5 years longer. They also found it more difficult to get an appointment, to take time off from work, and to pay for treatment. Forty-nine percent of respondents were concerned about the stigma of infertility, 46% about conceiving multiples, and 40% about financial costs. Disappointing one's spouse was of greater concern to African-American women, whereas avoiding the stigmatization of infertility was of greatest concern to Asian-American women. Conclusion(s): While the demand for infertility treatment increases in the United States, attention to cultural barriers to care and cultural meanings attributed to infertility should be addressed. Enhanced cultural competencies of the health care system need to be employed if equal access is to be realized as equal utilization for women of color seeking infertility care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1949
Number of pages7
JournalFertility and Sterility
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Health care disparities
  • IVF
  • assisted reproductive technology
  • cultural differences
  • equal access
  • equal utilization
  • infertility
  • mandate health insurance
  • race/ethnicity
  • religion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Reproductive Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Cultural factors contributing to health care disparities among patients with infertility in Midwestern United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this