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New Infertility Definition Includes Singles and LGBTQ+ Individuals

Read more about how the new update by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine will help ensure that anyone seeking to build a family has equitable access to infertility treatment.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Published November 2, 2023
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Image: BalanceFormCreative | Shutterstock

According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 6 people will deal with infertility in their lifetime. But what infertility looks like for these people, and who those people are, for that matter, can vary tremendously. Each infertility journey is as unique as the person who’s experiencing it, and now it’s time that the definition of infertility expanded to represent everyone who embarks on this difficult journey.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recently made headlines for updating its official definition of infertility to be a “disease, condition, or status” to be characterized by “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.”

In a statement announcing the change, Dr. Jared Robins, ASRM’s CEO, outlined the meaning and reasoning behind the change. “This revised definition reflects that all persons, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserve equal access to reproductive medicine,” he noted. “This inclusive definition helps ensure that anyone seeking to build a family has equitable access to infertility treatment and care.”

For years, thousands of those embarking on the journey to parenthood have been denied funds and access to reproductive assistance through their health insurance programs, as some insurance providers rely on the ASRM’s definition for approval. Single mothers, LGBTQ+ families and anyone else who may have been outside of the organization’s strict definition have struggled to manifest the families they so desperately desired.

The ASRM hopes that this redefinition will put these struggles to rest, stating simply that “nothing in this definition shall be used to deny or delay treatment to any individual, regardless of relationship status or sexual orientation.”

If you are dealing with infertility, check out The Bump’s resources for those trying to conceive. Learn how to calculate your fertile window, discover foods that may help boost fertility, and more here.

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