Major medical group update definition of ‘infertility’ to include LGBTQ+ couples

A major medical group has updated its definition of “infertility” to be more inclusive of same-sex couples and single parents.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Practice Committee announced the update last week in a bid to prevent health insurance companies from “denying patients coverage for the medical care they need to have children.”

Previously, the definition of ‘infertility’ had been limited to failing to get pregnant after a year of having unprotected sex or undergoing therapeutic donor insemination in women younger than 35 or within six months for women over 35. This treatment guideline remains in place for heterosexual couples trying to get pregnant.

NHS IVF queer women
The definition of ‘infertility’ has been updated. (Envato)

The new definition reads: “Infertility is a disease, condition, or status” that affects anybody who is in need of “medical intervention including, but not limited to, the use of donor gametes or donor embryos” or is unable to “achieve a successful pregnancy based on a patient’s medical, sexual, and reproductive history, age, physical findings, diagnostic testing.”

Commenting on the updated definition, CEO of the ASRM Jared Robins stated in a news release: “This revised definition reflects that all persons, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserve equal access to reproductive medicine. 

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

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“I thank the Practice Committee, our Board, and other ASRM leaders and staff for diligently and deliberately establishing a definition of infertility that acknowledges the reality of all seeking infertility care. 

A couple uses a needle to inject the others stomach as part of an IVF treatment.
An earlier definition of infertility focused solely on heterosexual couples. (Getty)

“We look forward to working with our members, policymakers, and others to normalize this definition.”

The updated definition has been described as a positive step in the right direction, with Dr Aimee Eyvazzadeh noting that it will help aspiring parents get fertility treatment through their insurance provider.

Speaking to CNN, the reproductive endocrinologist said:  “By adopting a more inclusive and accurate definition of infertility, the medical community can better serve and support those in need of reproductive assistance. 

“It not only promotes transparency but also helps reduce the stigma often associated with fertility problems.

“There are doctors who feel compelled to tell patients that insurance won’t cover a service because they don’t meet a ‘definition’ even if it’s unrelated to insurance coverage.

“The definition means a lot to fertility doctors and patients and I’m thrilled to see this change.”

The updated definition will be published in a week to ten days, the ASRM has confirmed.