Latest WHO Research Calls For Affordable High-Quality Fertility Treatment

According to the latest report on infertility published recently by the World Health Organisation (WHO), millions of people around the globe are affected by infertility, revealing an urgent need for greater access to affordable, high-quality fertility treatments.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we believe in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone, and we also ensure that this treatment is affordable by pinpointing the exact cause of a couple’s infertility, so our patients invest in only the most effective treatment for their specific fertility challenges.

Infertility is a global health issue affecting millions of people of reproductive age worldwide, says the World Health Organisation (WHO), which published its latest research report on infertility earlier this year. The report shows convincing evidence of the high global prevalence of infertility and reveals an urgent need for greater access to affordable, high-quality fertility treatments.

According to the WHO’s research, large numbers of people are affected by infertility – around 17.5% of the adult population worldwide or roughly 1 in 6 couples – indicating that infertility is a major health challenge globally.

The new estimates also show little variation in the prevalence of infertility between different regions around the globe, with comparable rates for high-, middle- and low-income countries. In fact, lifetime prevalence in high-income countries is 17.8%, while in low- and middle-income countries it is only slightly lower at 16.5%. “The report reveals an important truth: infertility does not discriminate,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General at WHO.

He also noted that “the sheer proportion of people affected show the need to widen access to fertility care and ensure this issue is no longer side lined in health research and policy, so that safe, effective, and affordable ways to attain parenthood are available for those who seek it.”

Fertility treatments

The WHO defines infertility as a disease of the male or female reproductive system, defined by the failure to achieve a pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. It can cause significant distress, stigma, and financial hardship, affecting people’s mental and psychosocial well-being.

Fortunately, there are very effective solutions for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infertility – including assisted reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

Sadly, despite the magnitude of this health issue, these solutions remain inaccessible to many due to high costs, social stigma and limited availability. High costs frequently prevent people from accessing infertility treatments or alternatively, leave those seeking fertility care with a substantial financial burden.

At present, in most countries, fertility treatments are largely funded out of pocket – and this means that “millions of people face catastrophic healthcare costs after seeking treatment for infertility,” according to Dr Pascale Allotey, Director of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Research at WHO.

How expensive are fertility treatments?

Of course, many highly advanced medical treatments are expensive, including those for fertility. But there are also many common fertility treatments that can be quite affordable.

For example, advanced assisted reproductive technologies such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) require state-of-the-art equipment and expertise, and can therefore be very expensive. However, not every infertile couple requires these advanced treatments – it may well be that less expensive treatments such as Artificial Insemination (AI) or hormone therapy via oral medication – is the correct treatment required.

The affordability of fertility treatments is also affected by the availability of medical aid cover for the various treatments and/or medical finance.

In South Africa, most medical aids only include a minimal amount of cover for a limited number of fertility treatments. However, even for couples with extensive medical aid cover, some costs will still be out-of-pocket.

Fertility patients in South Africa can also consider finance options such as a personal loan or finance available for fertility treatment. Fortunately, medical finance can be obtained at affordable rates through companies such as MediFin, which works with all registered doctors and fertility specialists registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa and offers finance specifically for pregnancy and fertility.

How can fertility treatment costs be kept affordable?

Our team at Medfem Fertility Clinic believes that fertility costs can be kept affordable by making sure every cent invested is well-spent on the right treatment combinations that will give a couple the very best chance of conceiving.

Having worked with tens of thousands of couples over many decades, we know that the cost of fertility treatments varies greatly from one couple to another. This is because there isn’t one cause of infertility that is treated by a single procedure.

In reality, a couple’s fertility challenges may be due to the female partner (as it is in one-third of infertility cases) or it may be due to the male partner, as it is in an equal one-third of infertility cases. For the remaining one-third of cases, the problem is a combination of both male and female factor issues. To complicate matters further, there is also a long list of possible causes of infertility in women and still more in men, ranging from genetic causes and autoimmune diseases to lifestyle choices.

This means some couples may require a single treatment or a combination of treatments; some may need medication or other medical procedures such as surgery; some may be successful on their first treatment, while others may need to have a certain treatment again, or may need to try a different treatment.

The only way that you could know for certain what your unique fertility treatments costs as a couple will involve is to get an expert diagnosis to pinpoint the exact cause of your unique fertility challenges as a couple. This will ensure you only incur costs only for those fertility treatments that will give you as a couple the best chance of conceiving. It will not only save money, but it will also save time, effort, discomfort and disappointment.

Where to get affordable fertility treatment

Cost is a real factor to be considered when planning to get fertility treatment. However, you can make sure you get the most affordable treatment by only paying for the treatments you require, and by considering all the funding options available.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, your fertility specialist will help you with an accurate diagnosis made after thorough fertility testing as a couple. This means that only the fertility treatments that will give you the best chance of a pregnancy is considered.

Your Medfem fertility specialist will also explain the various treatment options and detail the costs so you fully understand the affordability, and our team will also assist you in understanding the medical aid and medical finance options that are available.

Medfem Fertility Clinic’s team are committed and understanding team of medical professionals, who have the experience, knowledge and desire to provide you with the best chance of a successful outcome at the end of your treatment.

Since the 1980’s, Medfem Fertility Clinic’s team has assisted couples struggling with infertility to experience the joy of parenthood, helping to bring more than 18,000 babies into the world.

If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
Our Fertility Specialists can also meet with You During a Virtual Consultation Via Zoom or Skype. Click here to book a virtual consultation now.
We look forward to meeting you!

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