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RESOLVE Applauds World Health Organization (WHO) on release of new global data on the prevalence of infertility

RESOLVE calls on the U.S. government and researchers to gather the data that would help close significant gaps in care and access.

On April 3, 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) released new data showing that globally 1 in 6 people of reproductive age are impacted by infertility. RESOLVE appreciates and understands the complexities of data collection and the challenges that exist to pull this type of data together and we applaud the WHO for their goal to raise awareness about the global impact of infertility.

During a WHO hosted webinar, in which RESOLVE was invited to attend, speaker after speaker shared how infertility is a major and widespread problem, an important public health concern, and that infertility has received limited attention globally. This is not news to RESOLVE and our community – we know that change has not come fast enough for those who struggle to build their family. The release of this data also highlights the stigma experienced by those who have infertility, and the need for support, community, and access to mental health resources. This has been RESOLVE’s mission since our founding in 1974.

The WHO used this definition for infertility to collect the global data: “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.” RESOLVE understands that the population that struggles to build their family is much broader which is why when we talk to lawmakers and insurance companies, we define those needing access to fertility care as:

“Infertility” means a disease, condition or status characterized by:

• a failure to establish a pregnancy or to carry a pregnancy to live birth after regular, unprotected sexual intercourse, or

• a person’s inability to reproduce either as a single individual or with their partner without medical intervention, or

• a licensed physician’s findings based on a patient’s medical, sexual and reproductive history, age, physical findings and/or diagnostic testing.

The release of this report highlights the lack of data, and the need for “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.” At RESOLVE we know the power of data with legislators, policymakers, insurers, and healthcare providers. RESOLVE calls on the U.S. government and researchers to gather the data that would help organizations like RESOLVE create solutions to close the significant gaps in care and access.

We stand with organizations and individuals worldwide that see infertility and access to family building options as a Reproductive Rights issue. Everyone in the U.S. deserves a chance to build a family regardless of whether they “fit” in the global infertility definition. We have much work to do; join us to change the status quo.