Shady Grove Fertility Reports Increases in Black Women Starting IVF Treatment One Year after Michelle Obama Opens Up about Her Infertility Struggle in Memoir, Becoming

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One year after former First Lady, Michelle Obama, shared her infertility story in her New York Times Bestselling memoir, “Becoming,” SGF reports larger share of African-American patients choosing to undergo IVF treatment.

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Michelle Obama’s openness along with other prominent celebrities such as Gabrielle Union, sparked a national conversation about equity in women’s healthcare for black women along with a need to break the taboos in the black community about infertility, something we should all be grateful for.

Just 1 year ago, former First Lady, Michelle Obama, opened up about her own infertility struggles in her personal memoir that, after 15 days, became the best-selling book of 2018 in the United States.

In the book, described by Obama as her “deeply personal experience,” Obama shared of feeling “lost and alone” after suffering a miscarriage 20 years ago and eventually undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment to have her daughters, Malia and Sasha. At the time, Obama was in her mid-30s and expressed how “the biological clock is real” and “egg production is limited.”

Obama continued, “I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women … not share the truth about our bodies and how they work and how they don’t work,” a statement that has since struck a very real cord with many women.

“I’m so thankful to our former First Lady for elevating the conversation of miscarriage, loss, and infertility to the level of importance it deserves. It’s encouraging to see the increasing rate of black women now seeking infertility care,” says Desireé McCarthy-Keith, M.D., M.P.H., a board certified reproductive endocrinologist who sees patients in SGF Atlanta’s Atlanta-Northside and Alpharetta locations.

“Too often black women don’t seek care at the same rate as white women, but infertility can impact anyone, regardless of their race,” added McCarthy-Keith. “And while we are still a long way away from equality when it comes to the number of black women who seek care compared to white women, Michelle Obama shedding an important light, and igniting more women to take action, is definitely a step in the right direction.”

SGF, a national fertility center dedicated to advocating on behalf of making high quality and affordable fertility more accessible for all, is now reporting a larger share of women self-reporting as black, African, or African-American, that are going through IVF treatment—a previously underserved population when it comes to electing fertility treatment.

“I cannot encourage my sisters of color enough to reach out, make the call, heed the warning signs, and get help. You do not have to suffer in silence. Infertility is a real medical condition, and there are outstanding treatments available that can help almost any woman conceive, provided she seeks appropriate help early,” added McCarthy-Keith.

When comparing treatment data from SGF’s mid-Atlantic fertility centers from January 1 to June 30, 2018, to the same time period in 2019, the share of black women starting treatment grew 50 percent faster compared to treatment rates as a whole.

In a survey of over 1,000 women published by Women’s Health Magazine and Oprah Magazine in 2018, black women were less likely to talk with their friends, family, or doctors, compared to their white counterparts. The lack of conversation doesn’t impact the support of black women on their path to parenthood, but the likelihood that they will seek the needed medical care to grow their families.

To learn more about how SGF or to schedule a consult with a physician to discuss options for overcoming infertility, call 1-888-761-1967 or fill out this brief online form.

About Shady Grove Fertility (SGF)
SGF is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence with more than 85,000 babies born and counting. With 36 locations throughout FL, GA, MD, NY, PA, VA, D.C., and Santiago, Chile, we offer patients individualized care, accept most insurance plans, and make treatment affordable through innovative financial options, including treatment guarantees. More physicians refer their patients to SGF than any other center. Call 1-888-761-1967 or visit ShadyGroveFertility.com.

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Dana DeBoer
@SGFertility
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