Hope for Infertile Couples

Hope for Infertile CouplesHope for Infertile Couples

The Health Ministry has devised a new program to support infertile couples, says Dr. Marefat Ghaffari, secretary of the Board of Biology and Reproductive Health at the ministry.

The preventive and treatment measures incorporate three levels of services starting with the initial medical diagnosis. In the second stage, primary treatment like intrauterine insemination (IUI) conducted. Traditionally, IUI with or without ovulation induction is the first line of treatment for couples suffering from infertility.

After the causes of sub-fertility are reviewed, different treatment options will be presented. Finally, the importance of starting IUI prior to IVF or in vitro fertilization, a complex series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child, will be discussed as the last option, Alef News Agency reported.

Ghaffari said through the trial and error method, specialists have found the mainstay of infertility treatment, under which the ministry has developed different training programs and specialized courses for gynecologists and reproductive health scientists.

Pointing to the importance of the state of the art technology, he said new methods and facilities are needed to help researchers and training centers speed up research, and training, and reduce duplication in trial experiments so as to optimize the results. He said due to the lack of financial support, the ministry does not have sufficient funds to provide all the required facilities.

He pointed to the important role of the private sector in infertility treatment. There are 62 fertility centers, most of them private, of which 24 are located in Tehran. Some provinces like Hormozgan lack reproductive health centers and such clinics should be set up in underprivileged areas offering at least level 1&2 services. About $300,000 is required to equip each center. Funds should be allocated to centers that have at least 20% success in treatment, he added.


Ghaffari said most of the reproductive health centers offer counseling and only 12% of their work is devoted to prevention and treatment. The Health Ministry aims to boost the figure to 30%.

Infertility affects 10 to 18% of all couples. There are over three million infertile couples in the country. In the past few years, infertility has increased because of a rise in sexually transmitted diseases and a general delay in childbearing.

On average, 22% of women experience primary infertility during their marital life. The best age for childbearing is between 20-27 years. In these years, the lowest number of women (16-18%) will experience primary infertility.

Infertility has been recognized as a potentially serious, costly and burdensome. It may have far-reaching consequences, including marital conflicts, violence, stigmatization, isolation and divorce. The consequences are more serious in societies where women are primarily stereotyped as mothers.

A Tehran study and the National Infertility Survey (NIS) estimated the prevalence of lifetime primary infertility to be 21.9% and 24.9%, respectively. The minimum prevalence of lifetime primary infertility was found to be 15.8% in the age group 19-27 years by the study and 17.2% for the 21-26 age groups by the NIS.