More Asian American women using fertility treatments to become parents, data shows

Jasmine Minor Image
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
More Asian women using fertility treatments to become parents: data
This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, ABC7 looked at data showing more Asian women are using fertility treatments to be parents.

SKOKIE, Ill. (WLS) -- There has been a surge of Asian women using fertility treatments to become parents.

ABC7 spoke with one mom who is changing the cultural norm in building a family.

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Finding out she was pregnant was the moment Disha Malik waited years for. It was a moment Malik said was worth the fight.

"You go through beating yourself up about failing at this thing that you are biologically programmed to do,' Malik said.

It's very taboo to talk about struggles with fertility or fertility concerns in our community
Dr. Shweta Nayak, Reproductive Endocrinologist

Malik and her husband were determined to have a baby after being diagnosed with "unexplained infertility," so she began the process of IVF.

"You start putting all that pressure on yourself," Malik said.

She said more pressure can come with being an Asian woman.

"If you look at China and India... have been the most populous for so long, so the face of it doesn't seem like people from our ethnic background have problems having babies," Mailk said.

SEE ALSO | Black Moms Rising: Women becoming single mothers by choice with assisted reproductive technology

"It's very taboo to talk about struggles with fertility or fertility concerns in our community," said reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Shweta Nayak.

Data shows more and more Asian Americans are rewriting what it means to get help in becoming a parent.

Between 2016 and 2022, Asian women using assisted reproductive technology, including IVF grew nearly 44% in Cook County and nearly130% nationally, according to the CDC. It was the highest growth rate of any group of women.

"As Asian Americans, we tend to be a little bit older when we first set foot in the clinic," Dr. Nayak said. "We're more likely to be given a diagnosis of decreased ovarian reserve."

As one of just six Asian reproductive endocrinologists in the Chicago area, Dr. Nayak says it's imperative for providers to empower their patients of color.

"Remind yourself to give yourself grace, regardless of all the pressures," Nayak said.

Her goal is to help more rooms become nurseries and she hopes new mothers can experience the often messy, but joyful, experience of being a parent.

"You just have to stay on your toes. Don't slip on a car or a Lego," Nayak said. "Best feeling in the world."

Dr. Nayak said part of changing the stigma of Asian women seeking fertility treatments is encouraging more women of color to become fertility providers, which is something she's on a mission to do.