Lack Of A Sexual Partner Or Sexual Relationships Is A Disability - WHO

Single men and women without medical issues will be classed as “infertile” if they do not have children but want to become a parent, the World Health Organisation is to announce.

In a move which dramatically changes the definition of infertility, the WHO will declare that it should no longer be regarded as simply a medical condition.

The authors of the new global standards said the revised definition gave every individual “the right to reproduce”.

Until now, the WHO’s definition of infertility – which it classes as a disability – has been the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sex.

But the new standard suggests that the inability to find a suitable sexual partner – or the lack of sexual relationships which could achieve conception – could be considered an equal disability.

The World Health Organisation sets global health standards and its ruling  is likely to place pressure on the NHS to change its policy on who can access IVF treatment. 

Legal experts said the new definition, which will be sent out to every health minister next year, may force a law change, allowing the introduction of commercial surrogacy. 

However the ruling is also likely to lead to accusations that that the body  has overstepped its remit by moving from its remit of health into matters  of social affairs.

Under the new terms, heterosexual single men and women, and gay men and  women who want to have children would be given the same priority as couples seeking IVF because of medical fertility problems. 

Dr David Adamson, one of the authors of the new standards, said:  

The definition of infertility is now written in such a way that it includes the rights of all individuals to have a family, and that includes single men, single women, gay men, gay women.

It puts a stake in the ground and says an individual's got a right to  reproduce whether or not they have a partner. It's a big change.

It fundamentally alters who should be included in this group and who should  have access to healthcare. It sets an international legal standard.  Countries are bound by it.

Critics last night called the decision “absurd nonsense” as they raised concerns that couples with medical infertility could lose the chance for a child if NHS authorities rewrite their rules. 

The new definitions drawn up by WHO’s international committee monitoring  assisted reproductive technology will be sent to every health minister for  consideration next year. 

Gareth Johnson MP, former chair of the All Parliamentary Group on Infertility, whose own children were born thanks to fertility treatment  said: 

I’m in general a supporter of IVF. But I’ve never regarded  infertility as a disability or a disease but rather a medical matter. 

I’m the first to say you should have more availability of IVF to infertile  couples but we need to ensure this whole subject retains credibility. 

Jonathan Montgomery, Professor of Health Care Law at University College  London, said the health service would be forced to review its policies in  light of the new standards. 

However, he said it was unlikely that the NHS would adopt the WHO standards  wholesale.  

The legal expert said there could be other consequences to altering the  definition of infertility. 

Because wanting to have children would be defined as a disability, it  could well strengthen the case of gay couples to be allowed access to  commercial surrogates, he said. 

This might force the UK to think again about surrogacy.

Josephine Quintavalle, from Comment on Reproductive Ethics said: 

This  absurd nonsense is not simply re-defining infertility but completely  side-lining the biological process and significance of natural intercourse  between a man and a woman. 

How long before babies are created and grown on request completely in the  lab?
The controversy broke as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual congress heard that the 10 millionth IVF baby would be born by the  end of 2020. 

Official figures estimate that by 2013 6.5 million had been born using the  technique since the first IVF birth in 1978. 

The Telegraph

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