The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a new report on the extent of infertility in the world, published on Tuesday.
Described as a “major health problem”, about 17.5% of the adult population is affected, or one in six people worldwide.
The report does not look at the causes of infertility but provides an overview of its prevalence by analysing all relevant studies from 1990 to 2021.
All countries and regions of the world share similar problems, the organisation points out, but it believes that the subject is still in need of attention.
“Infertility has not received much attention globally, largely because there has been in the population discussions, there has been much more of a focus on contraception rather than infertility. It has therefore not been seen as a priority”, said Pascale Allotey, Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research, World Health Organization.
Solutions, such as assisted reproduction, remain under-funded and inaccessible to many due to high costs and social stigma, the report also says.
The report also highlights a lack of data in many countries, particularly in Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and South East Asia.