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Infertility and assisted reproduction 

Infertility and assisted reproduction
Chapter:
Infertility and assisted reproduction
Author(s):

Adam Balen

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199235292.003.0876
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date: 12 December 2017

Infertility is common. It has recently been suggested that approximately 9% of couples are involuntarily childless, although the exact number inevitably depends on how the complaint is defined (1). Medical definitions of infertility tend to emphasize the immediate problem brought to the consultation, reflecting the typically short-term interaction of many doctors, particularly specialists, with their patients. Most accepted definitions therefore involve the number of months prior to the consultation during which the couple has been exposed to the chance of a pregnancy. When the lifetime experience of a couple’s attempt to raise a family is considered, a quite different picture emerges: studies from Oxford and Copenhagen revealed that at least a quarter of all couples experience unexpected delays in achieving their desired family size (2, 3), although only a half may seek treatment (3).

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