How Your Job Might Affect Your Fertility

Photographed by Grace Willis.
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Women going through infertility treatments spend a lot of time thinking about success rates: what they are, what boosts them, and what lowers them. As new insights from fertility health data company FertilityIQ show, there might be a link between profession and IVF success.

To look into the connection, FertilityIQ did a dive into the site's Yelp-like reviews from 1,146 of its users. These thorough reports included each user's age, education level, income, and location.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the data (summarized in the infographic below) suggest that women making more than $100,000 have a higher IVF success rate than those making less than that. But what's more surprising is just how wide that gap is: Women in the higher income group had more than twice the success of those in the lower-income group. (Although not included in the infographic, the results for egg-freezing were similar: Wealthier women have more success.)

Part of this boost could come from the fact that the higher earners did more of the notoriously expensive IVF cycles. On average, they performed 20% more cycles than women with lower-incomes.

Beyond that, though, FertilityIQ founders Jake and Deborah Anderson-Bialis found that their data also showed a strong correlation between professions and IVF success — even when they accounted for income level. Jake says they noticed the pattern early on, even when their site only had a few hundred responses — teachers have great success while women in (traditionally male-dominated) fields like finance and STEM have relatively little success.

"We repeatedly heard very similar stories," says Deb. Those included tales of women having a hard time accommodating the monitoring appointments and balancing work travel. To make matters worse, "these tend to be industries where you’re the only woman in your department," Deb explains. "It’s tough enough to talk to your boss about maternity leave, let alone taking time off to get pregnant."

So how should we use all of this information? "If I were an employer, I would want to try to make life easier for my employees who are going through this," Deb says. We can only hope.
Image: Courtesy of FertilityIQ.
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