National plan to investigate prevalence of infertility

November 16, 2019 - 17:40

TEHRAN – The Ministry of Health will launch the first national plan on investigation of infertility prevalence in 31 provinces of the country, deputy health minister Alireza Raeisi has announced.

The method of the study is through a household questionnaire, which will be conducted by about 500 trained questioning teams, he said, IRNA news agency reported on Friday.

“In this survey, about 31,000 women are interviewed about their fertility records in a strictly confidential manner,” he noted.

He went on to say that fertility and population are important demographic concepts that have always been of interest due to the fact that the viability of any community depends on these important issues.

“With the announcement of general population policies in 2014, the Ministry of Health has launched special programs to implement these policies,” he added.

The ministry’s determination is particularly certain in the screening, management, and treatment of infertile couples, he said, noting, proper planning for prevention, timely diagnosis, and treatment during infertility requires up-to-date and evidence-based information.

“It seems that in Iran, with an increasing average age of marriage and delay in childbearing, fertility problems are increasing,” he explained.

In order to determine the prevalence of this problem, a nationwide study was conducted three years ago, which was evaluated by prominent professors and outstanding universities of medical sciences, he noted.

“After two phases of pilot studies, we started implementation recently,” he said, calling on the people to cooperate well with health care providers so that best plans to be prepared using the results of this research based on scientific evidence.

According to the data released by the National Organization for Civil Registration, comparing past three years, some 1,366,509 infants were born in the country, whose births were registered last year, while 1,487,913 births occurred a year before it, and 1,528,053 births have been recorded in the Iranian calendar year 1395 (March 2016-March 2017), a difference of roughly 100,000 per year.

A major contributing factor to this trend has been diminishing fertility rates in recent decades, further compounded by longer lifespans.

Moreover, socioeconomic factors led to fertility rate decrease and reproductive behavior in the country, including urbanization, education, financial issues, first marriage age, as well as increased access to family planning services along with increased time gap between the firstborn and marriage.

Between the Iranian calendar years of 1376 (March 1996-March 1997) to 1395 (March 2016-March 2017), the average age at first marriage for females increased from 19.8 to 23.0 and for males increased from 23.6 to 27.4.

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