New definition of infertility includes LGBTQ+ and single people.
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Updated Definition Of Infertility Finally Includes LGBTQ+ & Single People

“This inclusive definition helps ensure that anyone seeking to build a family has equitable access to infertility treatment and care.”

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The official definition of infertility has finally been expanded to include LGBTQ+ and single people. After years of infertility being defined as a heterosexual couple who have been unable to conceive after a year of having unprotected intercourse, this new definition has broadened that spectrum.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) updated its official definition of infertility last week to be a “disease, condition, or status” to be characterized by “the need for medical intervention, including, but not limited to, the use of donor gametes or donor embryos in order to achieve a successful pregnancy either as an individual or with a partner.” This new definition is expected to make it easier for LGBTQ+ and single people to access reproductive assistance through their health insurance programs, as some insurance providers rely on the ASRM’s definition for approval.

“This revised definition reflects that all persons, regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, or gender identity, deserve equal access to reproductive medicine,” Dr. Jared Robins, ASRM’s CEO, said in a statement. “This inclusive definition helps ensure that anyone seeking to build a family has equitable access to infertility treatment and care.”

The decision to update the official definition of infertility was a concerted effort on the part of ASRM to support same-sex couples and single people who want to have children but continue to see their fertility claims denied by insurance providers. “What we’re really trying to do is to acknowledge the reality that there are multiple reasons why patients may need medical intervention in order to build their families,” ASRM chief advocacy and policy officer Sean Tipton told Stat News. “It could be a tube problem. [It] could be the lack of sperm … It also could be that someone is single or is partnered with someone who is of the same sex as they are, and those people deserve access every bit as much as anybody else.”

Currently 21 states plus Washington, D.C. require workplace health insurance providers to offer some form of coverage for reproductive assistance, and the infertility advocacy group Resolve notes that only eight of those states have made provisions for single or LGBTQ+ people. This updated definition of infertility should go a long way to shifting those numbers and making access to reproductive assistance accessible to more people who need it.

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