Racism, Infertility and Pregnancy: 5 Untold Truths

Updated: Aug 9, 2020

1. Stigma

For women of all cultural and ethic backgrounds there remains a stigma associated with seeking fertility treatment. However, for women of black and minority ethnic backgrounds, this stigma can also be wrapped up in cultural expectations and a lack of acceptance from wider family or the community. For example, Black women are often regarded as ‘hyper-fertile’ which reinforces the stigma associated with those women requiring fertility support.

2. Poverty

The link between socioeconomic status and ethnicity is widely known. Black and minority ethnic women and men are twice more likely to experience poverty and therefore much less likely to be able to afford fertility treatment. With the average IVF cycle now costing upwards of £5000, the price of a child can just be too high.

3. Resources

Books, articles, support groups, fertility coaching, yoga classes, fertility diets – you name it and many women struggling to conceive have tried it. But all these come at a price which a high proportion of Black and Ethnic Minority women can’t afford.

4. Image

The images of infertility, IVF and miracle pregnancies is often that of a White, Middle Class, Heterosexual woman in her 30’s plus. This only reinforces the barriers to those who do not fit this stereotype.

5. Maternal Death

No, this is not something that only happened in Victorian times. In the UK, Black women are five times more likely to die in childbirth. Yep, you heard that right. The full picture as to why this figure is so high isn’t clearly known, but one of the risk factors is poor housing, poor health and outcomes.

The truths surrounding the impact of ethnicity on infertility and pregnancy are barely reported on and this article doesn't even begin to scratch the murky surface. It is up to us to raise awareness of such issues, to speak our truths. If this post resonated with you please act straight away by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. #BlackLivesMatter

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