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WHO Wants To Extend Their Definition Of Infertility To Include Single People


Tom Hale

Tom is a writer in London with a Master's degree in Journalism whose editorial work covers anything from health and the environment to technology and archaeology.

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In a controversial move, the World Health Organization (WHO) is reportedly hoping to widen their definition of infertility to include people who are single but want to become a parent, according to the Telegraph.

The proposed classification aims to become more inclusive of everyone's “right to reproduce”. Currently, the WHO clinically defines infertility as “the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year.” That definition does not include same-sex partners or single individuals who would like to have a family. This becomes a particularly thorny issue when it comes to seeking infertility treatments.


Dr David Adamson, one of the authors of the new report, told the Telegraph: “The definition of infertility is now written in such a way that it includes the rights of all individuals to have a family, and that includes single men, single women, gay men, gay women.”

“It puts a stake in the ground and says an individual’s got a right to reproduce whether or not they have a partner," he added. "It fundamentally alters who should be included in this group and who should have access to healthcare. It sets an international legal standard. Countries are bound by it."

The exact repercussions of this are not clear yet. The WHO's job is to guide and coordinate public health standards and regulations on behalf of the United Nations. For countries that have publically funded health programs that provide fertility treatment, the amendment could change who is eligible for treatments such as IVF.

The move, which has not yet had an official public announcement by the WHO, has already been branded as “barmy” and “absurd”.


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