Infertility is much more common than most people imagine. Large population studies show that as many as one in six couples are affected at some time in their reproductive lives. Doctors usually define infertility as the inability to conceive after one year of trying. International groups such as the World Health Organization classify infertility as a ‘disease’ and make reproduction and family rights important objectives.
There are two sources of infertility, one ‘primary’, the other ‘secondary’. The first describes a physiological condition in couples who have never been able to conceive, despite continued trying; the second describes an acquired state of infertility in a couple who have had a pregnancy in the past.
Most but not all causes can be explained by investigation and can be related to the male or female partner.
Advances in fertility treatment mean that today most couples with fertility problems can be helped to have a baby. It is also the case that these same treatments can be successfully applied in lesbian and single women. These are women who are not strictly infertile but, because of their circumstances, are unable to conceive spontaneously. Find out more here
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