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Infertility: A global issue

The Fertility Care for All network takes a broad view of infertility. We realise that many people who self-identify as facing challenges with fertility may not fit strict medical definitions of the term, yet they still experience significant distress and hardship because of their situation.


When people talk about infertility, they might picture IVF clinics with highly specialised technology in high income countries. In fact, infertility takes a toll on people everywhere, affecting an estimated 42 million couples worldwide in 2012 (Mascarenhas, Flaxman, Boerma et al). More recent figures are showing an increased trend in some countries, but the accuracy of our global data remains limited. Herein lies one of the challenges in advocating for better fertility care: we do not know the full extent of the issue if it is not measured as regularly and as accurately as we would like. Our assumptions, however subconscious, of who is likely to be affected by infertility, is one of the foundations of inequity that we are trying to address through our collaboration.

Ref: Mascarenhas MN, Flaxman SR, Boerma T, Vanderpoel S, Stevens GA. National, regional, and global trends in infertility prevalence since 1990: a systematic analysis of 277 health surveys. PLoS Med. 2012;9(12):e1001356. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001356. Epub 2012 Dec 18. PMID: 23271957; PMCID: PMC3525527.

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