same-sex couples fertility

The Definition of Infertility Has Changed, Here is What You Need to Know

In an effort to be more inclusive to people who want to start or grow their family, but are unable to for various reasons, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has issued new information on how infertility is being defined. With this new definition, single men and women, same-sex couples and anyone who is in need of donor egg, donor sperm and/or a surrogate would fit in the new definition. 

The goal of this new definition is to ensure that people who want to have children are able to get the help and support they need. The changes may also help individuals and couples get medical support for pregnancy faster than they were able to do in the past, giving them the potential for more options.

According to the statement released by ASRM on October 14, 2023, infertility is a disease, condition, or status characterized by any of the following: 

  • The inability to achieve a successful pregnancy based on a patient’s medical, sexual, and reproductive history, age, physical findings, diagnostic testing, or any combination of those factors.
  • 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 patients having regular, unprotected intercourse and without any known etiology for either partner suggestive of impaired reproductive ability, evaluation should be initiated at 12 months when the female partner is under 35 years of age and at six months when the female partner is 35 years of age or older.

The new definition is designed to show that there are many reasons for infertility, and to encourage patients and medical professionals to work together as quickly as possible to treat or address issues that could be preventing pregnancy in those who want to conceive. Additionally, the ASRM wants to make sure people of all sexual orientations and relationship statuses have the opportunity to become parents.

Updating the definition of infertility to create a more inclusive environment will mean that more people can get care that is important to their family planning goals, happiness, mental health, and quality of life. Having a full understanding of what is needed to qualify for fertility treatment means potential patients can also see what kinds of testing and diagnostic information they may need, in order to find out if medical intervention may be necessary in their case.

In the past, fertility issues were often focused on male/female relationships, and more specifically on marriages, where one partner experienced infertility due to a medical problem. That’s slowly changed over time, but this new definition will continue to improve clarity for anyone who’s not sure whether they qualify for infertility treatment. Same sex relationships, being single, and other non-medical issues are also causes of infertility, and acknowledging that will help more people get the care they need to create and grow their families.

At the Fertility Institute of San Diego, our fertility testing will be tailored and customized to your individual needs and for most patients is completed in one menstrual cycle. To learn more, please contact us today!

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