THE World Health Organization (WHO) is to announce that single men and women without medical issues will be classed as ‘infertile’ if they are childless but wish to become parents. This suggests that the inability to find a suitable sexual partner could be considered a disability.
Under the new terms, heterosexual men and women as well as gay men and women who wish to have children would be given the same priority as couples seeking in vitro fertilisation because of medical fertility problems. The new definitions are being drawn up by the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies for WHO for consideration next year, according to a widely cited report in The Daily Telegraph last month.
The Telegraph reported that the WHO will declare that infertility should no longer be regarded as simply a medical condition, and that the new global standards will give every individual “the right to reproduce”.
The current definition of infertility, which the WHO already classifies as a disability, is “the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year”.
In explaining its current definition as a disability, the WHO said, “infertility generates disability (an impairment of function), and thus access to health care falls under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. An estimated 34 million women, predominantly from developing countries, have infertility which resulted from maternal sepsis and unsafe abortion (long term maternal morbidity resulting in a disability). Infertility in women was ranked the fifth highest serious global disability among populations under the age of 60.”
The new standards, according to The Telegraph, suggest 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.