1 in 6 people globally affected by infertility

April 6, 2023
WHO report.

Large numbers of people are affected by infertility in their lifetime, according to a new report published by the World Health Organization. Around 17.5% of the adult population – roughly 1 in 6 worldwide – experience infertility, showing the urgent need to increase access to affordable, high-quality fertility care for those in need.

The new estimates show limited variation in the prevalence of infertility between regions. The rates are comparable for high-, middle- and low-income countries, indicating that this is a major health challenge globally. Lifetime prevalence was 17.8% in high-income countries and 16.5% in low- and middle-income countries.

At present, in most countries, fertility treatments are largely funded out of pocket – often resulting in devastating financial costs. People in the poorest countries spend a greater proportion of their income on fertility care compared to people in wealthier countries. High costs frequently prevent people from accessing infertility treatments or alternatively, can catapult them into poverty as a consequence of seeking care.

While the new report shows convincing evidence of the high global prevalence of infertility, it highlights a persistent lack of data in many countries and some regions. It calls for greater availability of national data on infertility disaggregated by age and by cause to help with quantifying infertility, as well as knowing who needs fertility care and how risks can be reduced.

WHO release

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