Several nearby fertility of the centers for many AMERICAN women

The pregnancy test at the fertility graph


More than a third of the women in the United States have limited or no access to medical centers in the treatment of fertility problems, according to a new study.

After examination of the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the researchers found the fertility centres are mainly located in the densely populated areas in the U.S.

“About 40 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 50 living in areas where there are limited or no opportunities for them,” said Dr. John Harris of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.

Harris and his colleagues, writing in Fertility and Sterility that a lack of geographic access to assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a common and significant obstacle for patients with infertility.

Using census data and information from the CDC, the researchers evaluated the geographic access to ART clinics in the US – where, they say, an estimated 7.5 million women experience difficulty in getting children.

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They identified a total of 510 ART clinics in 144 census areas, which are geographical regions drawn by the similarities to the nearby urban centres.

Generally, clinics tend to cluster in the vicinity of population centers, such as Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Philadelphia. Approximately 60 percent of the women in the age 20 to 49 lived in areas with multiple ART clinics.

About 29 percent lived in areas with no clinics, however. Yet 11 percent of women in that age group lived in areas with only a clinic, which means that they are not for a choice of providers.

In addition to geographic obstacles, the cost is also a heavy burden, because people often pay for fertility treatments out of pocket, Harris said.

Long distances to ART clinics means more costs for travel, accommodation and days off work.

“There is already a significant burden,” he said. “When is the increase of the cost, which only increases the barriers.”

The costs can add up, because in vitro fertilization can be necessary to have a number of repeat visits to ART clinics, for a short period, according to Dr. Kara Goldman, a reproductive endocrinologist and assistant professor at the NYU Langone Medical Center Fertility Center in New York.

“This helps to show the geographical barriers are important for patients,” said Goldman, who was not involved in the new study. “This is something we need to address in our area.”

Harris said major medical centers can help you by the operation of a satellite ART clinics. Business and employers can also help by people extra time off for fertility treatments.

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