Unintended Pregnancy Influences Racial Disparity in Tubal Sterilization Rates
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- Borrero, S., Moore, C.G., Qin, L. et al. J GEN INTERN MED (2010) 25: 122. doi:10.1007/s11606-009-1197-0
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Minority women are more likely than white women to choose tubal sterilization as a contraceptive method. Disparities in rates of unintended pregnancy may help explain observed racial/ethnic differences in sterilization, but this association has not been investigated.
To examine the associations among race/ethnicity, unintended pregnancy, and tubal sterilization.
DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS
Cross-sectional analysis of data from a nationally representative sample of women aged 15–44 years [65.7% white, 14.8% Hispanic, and 13.9% African American (AA)] who participated in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth.
Race/ethnicity, history of unintended pregnancy, and tubal sterilization. A logistic regression model was used to estimate the effect of race/ethnicity on unintended pregnancy while adjusting for socio-demographic variables. A series of logistic regression models was then used to examine the role of unintended pregnancy as a confounder for the relationship between race/ethnicity and sterilization.
Overall, 40% of white, 48% of Hispanic, and 59% of AA women reported a history of unintended pregnancy. After adjusting for socio-demographic variables, AA women were more likely (OR: 2.0; 95% CI: 1.6–2.4) and Hispanic women as likely (OR: 1.0; 95% CI: 0.80–1.2) as white women to report unintended pregnancy. Sterilization was reported by 29% of women who had ever had an unintended pregnancy compared to 7% of women who reported never having an unintended pregnancy. In unadjusted analysis, AA and Hispanic women had significantly higher odds of undergoing sterilization (OR: 1.5; 95% CI: 1.3–1.9 and OR: 1.4; 95% CI: 1.2–1.7, respectively). After adjusting for unintended pregnancy, this relationship was attenuated and no longer significant (OR: 1.2; 95% CI: 0.95–1.4 for AA women and OR: 1.3; 95% CI: 1.0–1.6 for Hispanic women).
Minority women, who more frequently experience unintended pregnancy, may choose tubal sterilization in response to prior experiences with an unintended pregnancy.