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Time for Public Health Action on Infertility

Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at 1pm EDT.

Photo: Couple looking at a pregnancy test

Thirty years ago family planning was synonymous with using contraception and the prevention of pregnancy. Today, that definition has changed immensely to recognize the importance of helping couples achieve pregnancy. In general, infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year of unprotected sex (6 months for women 35 or older). In the United States, infertility is widespread and affects about 6% of married women 15–44 years of age. An additional 12% of women ages 15-44 suffer from impaired ability to get pregnant or carry a pregnancy to a live birth, a condition referred to as impaired fecundity. While it is often thought of as just a women’s condition, both men and women contribute to infertility, with 9% of U.S. men reporting male-related infertility.  For couples experiencing difficulty conceiving, the effects of infertility can be devastating.

Infertility also has important public health implications. Given that many treatments result in twin and higher order births, both mothers and infants are at increased risk for adverse health outcomes.  Additionally, many known causes of infertility, such as sexually transmitted diseases, environmental exposures, obesity, and smoking, are well-known public health threats. While there is increasing recognition of how these factors affect fertility, there are still many opportunities to better understand and address population level issues that contribute to infertility in men and women.

Please join us for this fascinating session of Grand Rounds as we delve into strategies associated with the detection, prevention, and management of infertility. This session will also address clinical approaches to improving the safety and efficacy of infertility treatments in an effort to promote healthy pregnancy outcomes.


August 2014

Beyond the Data Beyond brings you "take home" messages for you to use in your practice, in your classroom and in your home.

Dr. Phoebe Thorpe and Dr. Lee Warner discuss infertility as a public health issue.

Individuals should know that:

  • Infertility is personally devastating and results in several quality of life challenges
  • It is a disease that affects both men and women
  • There are organizations that provide support – RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association

Providers must:

  • Focus on preconception care, including encouraging patients to stop smoking and weight management
  • Preserve fertility of individuals being treated with chemotherapy, especially adolescents

Public health can:

  • Continue efforts to reduce preventable risk factors such as sexually transmitted diseases, obesity and smoking
  • Improve surveillance to identify and address racial and geographic disparities in both risk factors and access to treatment



Presented By

Lee Warner, PhD
Associate Director for Science, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
“Infertility and the National Public Health Action Plan”

Eli Y. Adashi, MD, MS, CPE, FACOG
Professor of Medical Science The Warren Alpert Medical School
Brown University
“Improving the Outcomes of Infertility Treatments: A Clinical Perspective”

Barbara Collura
President/Chief Executive Officer,
RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association
“Infertility from Both Male and Female Patients’ Perspective”

Dmitry Kissin, MD, MPH
Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance and Research Team Lead,
Division of Reproductive Health National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
“Infertility treatments from a Public Health Perspective”

Facilitated By

John Iskander, MD, MPH, Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Phoebe Thorpe, MD, MPH, Deputy Scientific Director, Public Health Grand Rounds
Susan Laird, MSN, RN, Communications Director, Public Health Grand Rounds

Additional Resources

  • Page last reviewed: April 24, 2014
  • Page last updated: April 24, 2014
  • Content source: