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Medical school professors, doctors redefine ‘fertility’ to be more inclusive

New definition applies to single women, LGBT women, anyone who wants a child

A major medical organization put forth a new definition of “infertility” to accommodate anyone trying to become pregnant.

“Infertility” redefined by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine may mean “the need for medical intervention, including, but not limited to, the use of donor gametes or donor embryos in order to achieve a successful pregnancy either as an individual or with a partner,” among other conditions, according to an Oct. 14 news release from the organization.

Medical school professors and doctors who authored the “new and inclusive” definition include Dr. Karl Hansen, the chair of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and reproductive endocrinology Professor Sangita Jindal of the Institute for Reproductive Medicine and Health at the Montefiore Medical Center in New York.

Their new definition is “built upon the clinical reality of the disease of infertility” but “also reflects the fact that challenges in reproduction can have a myriad of causes, all of which deserve to be taken seriously and treated,” according to the news release.

It is “driven by the clinical needs of patients who come from different places and with different treatment needs,” the release continued.

Dr. Jason Roberts, ASRM CEO, stated in the news release that the revised definition facilities the aims of everyone who wants to have a child.

“This inclusive definition helps ensure that anyone seeking to build a family has equitable access to infertility treatment and care,” he said.

According to an Oct. 26 article in MedPage Today, “infertility is no longer restricted to just women in heterosexual partnerships.”

“Now, circumstances common among LGBTQ people and single women trying to get pregnant can meet the official definition for infertility,” it continued.

Dr. Elizabeth Fino, a reproductive endocrinologist at NYU Langone Health in New York City, told MedPage Today that many doctors had already viewed infertility in this way.

She said she is unsure how insurance companies will handle the redefinition.

The new definition will be published in an upcoming issue of the ASRM’s journal Fertility and Sterility.

Prior to this month, “infertility” had been defined by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine as a condition affecting women. Doctors diagnosed it when a woman could not become pregnant within a given interval of having sexual intercourse or receiving artificial insemination.

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