Reproductive Health and Infertility

Reproductive health, as defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system at all states of life. In the United States it is estimated that 10% - 15% of couples experience a significant challenge to their reproductive health. Infertility – the inability to conceive after a period of time, often considered 12 months or more – is thought to affect approximately 6.1 million individuals in the United States. While infertility may be caused by numerous factors, many cases of infertility are treatable.

The field of assisted reproductive technologies has expanded significantly over the past 30 years following groundbreaking success of in vitro fertilization in the l978. Treatments include ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), GIFT (gamete introfallopian transfer), donor egg programs and surrogacy.

All of these explosive technologies have provided infertile couples with alternative treatments and decisions. But, these treatments have also created issues far beyond the bounds of science, into the unexpected domains of law, philosophy and religion. In vitro fertilization began a new chapter in the biology of early human reproduction, and in the process launched medical professionals into the discussion of matters that were previously the domain of philosophers and moral theologians.

The Jones Foundation seeks to pioneer solutions to infertility and improve reproductive health by funding vital research and advancing public and professional discourse to shape the bioethics of reproductive medicine. The future of infertility treatment will be brighter as the result of scientists and physicians who are devoted not only to the application of assisted reproductive technologies, but to the development of new discoveries that will enhance the human condition.

 
 

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