Infertility is defined as the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of regular unprotected sexual intercourse and can cause significant distress, stigma, and financial hardship. Despite the magnitude of the problem, solutions for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility, including assisted reproductive technology like in vitro fertilization, remain underfunded and inaccessible to many due to high costs, social stigma, and limited availability.
Fertility treatments are mostly funded out of pocket, which often results in devastating financial costs. People in the poorest countries spend a larger proportion of their income on fertility care compared to those in wealthier countries. High costs frequently prevent people from accessing infertility treatments or catapult them into poverty as a result of seeking care.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General at WHO, emphasizes that infertility does not discriminate, and widening access to fertility care is essential to ensure safe, effective, and affordable ways to attain parenthood for those who seek it. The report highlights the need for greater availability of national data on infertility disaggregated by age and cause to help with quantifying infertility, identifying those who need fertility care, and reducing risks.