Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility Print E-mail
An estimated 60 to 80 million couples worldwide suffer from infertility and consequent involuntary childlessness, a condition that is often due to tubal blockage resulting from untreated or inadequately treated STIs. Infertility and subfertility from various causes afflict men as well as women and affect the social and emotional lives of those who are unable to conceive (or cause conception) or to carry a pregnancy to term in profound ways. Often blamed on the woman, barrenness in some cultures is considered "just cause" for physical or emotional abuse, divorce or abandonment, or social ostracism. WHO focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of subfertility and infertility in men and women and on new approaches to assisted reproduction for couples.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Infertility

Research and data

Based on an international meeting of experts held at WHO in Geneva in September 2001 on 'Medical, Ethical and Social Aspects of Assisted Reproduction,' WHO has produced a collection of edited papers, Current Practices and Controversies in Assisted Reproduction

(2002). Infertility and assisted reproductive technologies are discussed in the context of the regional cultures of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, India, and the Far East, including attitudes about infertility, and ethical and socio-cultural issues. A section on recent medical developments and unresolved issues in assisted reproduction includes 12 technical papers on topics such as ovarian stimulation, gamete and embryo donation, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, and multiple pregnancies. Additional papers discuss various social, psychological and ethical issues. The volume concludes with examples of national surveillance systems for assisted reproductive technologies and a set of research and policy recommendations.

Guidelines for providers

The technical manuals mentioned here are intended for advanced-level practitioners and laboratory personnel. The WHO Manual for the Standardized Investigation, Diagnosis and Management of the Infertile Male (2000) by Patrick J. Rowe, published for WHO by Cambridge University Press, is a companion volume to the WHO Laboratory Manual for the Examination of Human Semen and Sperm-Cervical Mucus Interaction (4th edition, 1999), also published for WHO by Cambridge.  An earlier manual, the WHO Manual for the Standardized Investigation and Diagnosis of the Infertile Couple (1993) is also published by Cambridge University Press.

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