The World Health Organization (WHO), in association with the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART), has formally recognized infertility as a disease in its new international glossary of Assistive Reproductive Technologies (ART) terminology. At the same time, the jointly-prepared glossary appeared in journals Fertility and Sterility and Human Reproduction. The glossary defines infertility as ‘a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse’. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) described the move as ‘a significant milestone for the condition’.
Dr William Gibbons, President of ASRM:
“We applaud the WHO for leading this important effort and for being so clear about the disease status of infertility. For too long those suffering from infertility have had their condition slighted or even ignored. Insurance companies don’t pay to treat it, governments don’t put adequate resources to study it and consequently patients suffer. We hope that this international recognition that infertility is, in fact, a disease will allow it to be treated like other diseases.”