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Infertility affects one in six: WHO

Around one in every six adults experiences infertility, the World Health Organization estimated Tuesday as it called for an urgent increase in access to fertility care.

The WHO determined that around 17.5 percent of adults worldwide are affected by infertility at some point, and found little variation between regions and wealthy and poorer countries, AFP reports.

“Globally, an estimated one out of every six people are affected by the inability to have a child at some point in their life,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the foreword to a fresh report on the issue.

“This is regardless of where they live and what resources they have.”

Across their lifetime, 17.8 percent of adults in high-income countries and 16.5 percent in low- and middle income countries were affected by infertility, it found.

Tedros said the report — the first of its kind in a decade — revealed “an important truth: infertility does not discriminate.”

The WHO designated the issue a “major health challenge globally”, but stressed the difficulty of comparing the situation in various regions due to a lack of data from a number of countries.