A new report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that approximately one in six adults experience infertility.
The report further discloses that infertility is similar across high-, middle-, and low-income countries, indicating that this is a major health challenge globally.
The WHO report defines infertility as a disease of the male or female reproductive system, where pregnancy cannot be achieved after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.
Despite the high prevalence rate, it has been noted that access to affordable and high-quality fertility care remains limited due to high costs, social stigma, and limited availability.
The report therefore calls for greater availability of national data on infertility dis-aggregated by age and cause to help quantify infertility, identify those who need fertility care, and reduce risks.
The report also highlights that fertility treatments are largely funded out of pocket, leading to devastating financial costs for those seeking care.
People in the poorest countries spend a greater proportion of their income on fertility care compared to people in wealthier countries.
While the WHO report sheds light on the challenges faced by millions of people worldwide who struggle with infertility, local medic, Zaziwe Gunda says enhanced awareness on the matter can help remove stigma and myths surrounding the condition.
Meanwhile, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General at WHO further emphasizes the urgent need to widen access to fertility care and ensure that infertility is no longer sidelined in health research and policy.
He stresses the importance of providing safe, effective, and affordable ways for individuals to attain parenthood.