One in six people all over the world suffers from infertility: WHO

Ingy Deif, Tuesday 4 Apr 2023

One in six people worldwide is affected by infertility and access to affordable care is insufficient, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday, in a major new report.



The UN World Health Organization (WHO) released a major new report on Tuesday, stating that one in six people worldwide suffer from infertility, and access to affordable care is lacking.

Infertility affects both men and women and is defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.

WHO analyzed all relevant studies on infertility from 1990 to 2021 to compile the new in-depth estimates, revealing that 17.5% of the adult population experience infertility in their lifetime.

The rates are “comparable” for high, middle, and low-income countries.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the report shows that infertility does not discriminate and the need to widen access to fertility care is paramount.

Despite the prevalence of infertility, diagnosis and treatment, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), remain underfunded, and patients find themselves priced out. WHO says that many have no choice but to pay the costs out of pocket, often with devastating consequences.

According to WHO, people in the poorest countries spend a greater proportion of their income on fertility care than those in wealthier countries.

WHO also highlights a “persistent” lack of data related to infertility in many countries and calls for better national infertility statistics to target interventions and support prevention.

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