A new infertility definition doesn’t look to redefine the condition. It attempts to open the gates of treatment to different communities.
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A broadened definition of “infertility” could help single individuals and LGBTQ+ couples — opening up new avenues for treating “social infertility.”
The revised, more expansive definition of infertility now includes:
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM) revised definition “reflects that all persons, regardless of marital status, sexual status, or gender identity, deserve equal access to reproductive medicine.”
Infertility was previously defined as the inability of a heterosexual couple to get pregnant with
While the diagnostic and treatment guidelines remain unchanged for heterosexual couples, they tackle the disproportionate challenges faced by LGBTQ+ couples: having to pay for multiple rounds of intrauterine insemination injections out of their pocket — a “queer tax” — before being eligible for insurance.
Scholars, activists, and policymakers have been urging for a revised definition of infertility to include “social infertility” — afflicting people who “wish to conceive” but are deprived due to minimal access to assisted reproductive technology (ARTs).
On the surface: Embracing a new definition is building upon the idea of equal rights — giving momentum to the conversation of expanded access to reproductive treatment.
Infertility is often seen as a developmental crisis, with patients harboring feelings of shame and secrecy. Even as ARTs become more commonplace, several developed nations struggle with embracing treatment. The extension of rights to “intending” LGBTQ+ and single parents-to-be hopes to change that.