Strange things seem to be going on at the World Health Organization (WHO).
As one can read in the Telegraph, the organization is planning to make an announcement according which single men and women without medical issues will be classed as “infertile” if they do not have children but want to become a parent.
Through this move, the UN Agency specialized on health issues would dramatically change the definition of “infertility”, transforming it from a medical condition into a social status. Up until now, the WHO’s definition of infertility – which it classes as a disability – has been the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular and normal (i.e., heterosexual) sexual intercourse. But the new standard suggests that the inability to find a suitable sexual partner – or the lack of sexual relationships which could achieve conception – could equally be considered a disability that requires medical treatment.
In other words, this new definition would mean that everybody has “the right to a child”, even if he or she is a (perfectly healthy) single man or woman without a mate. And the solution to help people overcome their “infertility”, very obviously, would be to stipulate that everybody, must have access to “infertility treatment”, which in fact does not treat infertility, but consists in the production of children and their sale to everyone who wants to buy them.
The World Health Organisation is there to set global health standards and its new definition, which will be sent out to every health minister next year, is likely to place pressure on states to change their policy on who can access IVF treatment, or even to legalize commercial surrogacy. Fertility entrepreneurs such as this one can rejoice.
The Telegraph article quotes one Dr David Adamson, one of the authors of the new standards, as saying:
“The definition of infertility is now written in such a way that it includes the rights of all individuals to have a family, and that includes single men, single women, gay men, gay women.
“It puts a stake in the ground and says an individual’s got a right to reproduce whether or not they have a partner. It’s a big change.
“It fundamentally alters who should be included in this group and who should have access to healthcare. It sets an international legal standard. Countries are bound by it.”
Meanwhile, however, the WHO’s website, updated on 21 October, says:
“WHO is currently collaborating with its partners to update the Glossary and consideration is being given to revising the definition of infertility. Should there be a change in the definition of infertility, it will remain a clinical description of infertility as a disease of the reproductive system and will not make recommendations about the provision of fertility care services.“
It seems reasonable to conclude that some pressure groups within the Organization have been kite-flying an idea that does not (yet) have sufficient support, and that they therefore have been forced to retract. But we know now where they are heading.