Infertility Episodes May Not Translate to an Inability to Meet Reproductive Goals for African American Women with Lupus
Lupus is primarily diagnosed in women during their reproductive years and some treatments are known to cause infertility. Researchers examined infertility experiences in African American women with SLE compared to healthy women to assess whether women with SLE are able to meet their reproductive goals and have their desired number of children.
Researchers studied women ages 22‐40, living in the Atlanta metropolitan area and enrolled in the Georgians Organized Against Lupus Cohort, who were diagnosed with SLE after age 17, and healthy women ages 22‐40 from the same area. A total of 229 women were studied (75 with SLE and 154 healthy) and interviewed in-person about their reproductive histories and goals. The investigators found SLE was associated with increased episodes of infertility, but less so with infertility when attempting to get pregnant. This may mean that African American women may be able to have their desired number of children despite infertility challenges. An age‐matched analysis was also used to examine periods of infertility occurring after SLE diagnosis, and it generated similar findings.
Sam Lim, the senior study author and member of the Lupus Foundation of America Medical-Scientific Advisory Council, and lead author Meghan Angley, note that their study “underscores the importance of asking women with SLE about their reproductive goals, because it may be possible to achieve them with careful planning and monitoring.”
Considering that African American women represent the group at greatest risk of lupus, the researchers conclude that more efforts should be made to include these women in studies of SLE, fertility and pregnancy. Learn about women’s health and reproductive issues with lupus.