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1 in 6 people globally face infertility at some point in life, WHO says

Even more people are in need of accessible fertility treatment when same-sex couples and those pursuing single parenthood by choice are taken into account. Photo: Pexels

(Theresa Gaffney/ PBS News Hour) –– One in six people across the globe face infertility at some point in their lifetime, according to the first new estimates from the World Health Organization in a decade.

The prevalence is “staggering,” Pascale Allotey, director of sexual and reproductive health and research at WHO, said at a press conference Monday. The report estimates that 17.8% of adults in high-income countries and 16.5% in low- and middle-income countries experience infertility.

Infertility can be “physically, emotionally, and sometimes financially exhausting,” Gitau Mburu, a WHO fertility researcher, said at the press conference. In a call to action, the WHO recommended that countries offer universal health coverage of fertility treatments, pointing to many European countries as well as Morocco (which has made fertility treatment available in the public sector) and Indonesia (which includes it in primary care services) as leading the way. (…)