April 8, 2024

American IVF doctors adopt ‘inclusive’ definition of fertility

According to the World Health Organisation, “Infertility is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”

While the terms of every definition can be disputed, the WHO clearly states that infertility is a physical ailment.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has just departed from this approach to accommodate unconventional methods of obtaining a baby. Its official position has been changed to include “social infertility”: ‘‘Infertility is a disease, condition, or status characterized by any of the following:”

  • The inability to achieve a successful pregnancy based on a patient’s medical, sexual, and reproductive history, age, physical findings, diagnostic testing, or any combination of those factors.
  • The need for medical intervention, including, but not limited to, the use of donor gametes or donor embryos in order to achieve a successful pregnancy either as an individual or with a partner.
  • In patients having regular, unprotected intercourse and without any known etiology for either partner suggestive of impaired reproductive ability, evaluation should be initiated at 12 months when the female partner is under 35 years of age and at 6 months when the female partner is 35 years of age or older.

In other words, gay couples, single men or women, couples seeking surrogate mothers are all deemed to be infertile. “This revised definition reflects that all persons, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserve equal access to reproductive medicine. This inclusive definition helps ensure that anyone seeking to build a family has equitable access to infertility treatment and care,” said the ASRM’s CEO, Jared Robins.