3m Couples Infertile

3m Couples Infertile 3m Couples Infertile

There are “3 million infertile couples in Iran, of whom only one-fifth can afford fertility treatment,” said the head of the fertility department at the ministry of health and medical education.

Speaking on the sidelines of a meeting with officials from the universities of medical sciences, Mohammad Eslami said only 600,000 to 700,000 infertile couples can afford the costly infertility treatment and called for financial support to other couples, IRNA reported.

Eslami noted that the rise in average age of marriages “is a contributing factor to declining fertility and drew attention to the financial problems faced by young couples, which was delaying marriages and pregnancies.”

A study of 18,000 young people who participated in pre-marital counseling indicated the average number of children desired by the couples was 2.27. The fact that the actual fertility rate is below this number shows the effect of external factors such as unemployment, unaffordable housing and low income on the number of children a couple decides to have, he noted.

He also said cigarette smoking and its effects on male sperm count was another cause of infertility, which could be prevented by spreading awareness about the issue.

He called for participation from all concerned authorities and executive bodies to address issues related to the country’s low population growth and high rate of infertility.

 Private Monopoly

Meanwhile, Shahla Mirgalavi, a member of the Majlis health committee spoke against what she called a ‘’monopolization of infertility treatment’’ in the country. Mirgalavi talking to ICANA criticized the fact that many couples from remote areas in the country have to travel to Tehran to seek infertility treatment. This also adds to the burden of actual costs of treatment.

‘’Today, there’s a private sector monopoly on infertility treatment and government involvement has been drastically limited,” she said. ‘’Unfortunately, there are not enough infertility treatment facilities in small towns and more centers should be established in other cities and provinces,” she stressed.

She emphasized insurance coverage for infertility treatment “so that at least 50% to 70% of the costs will be covered.”

Mirgalavi voiced concern over the rising problem of infertility and urged the health ministry to launch research programs to identify the cause.

A ‘’change in lifestyle’’ can be effective in tackling infertility, she said, adding ‘’only scientific research can reveal the causes of this problem.”