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The international fertility industry

International fertility industry
Fertility industry
© UCL

The global fertility market is growing, in part because of the increased availability of new technologies to treat infertility and the expansion of options for people to create new kinds of families.

Infertility is a complex phenomenon. It reflects an interaction between our biology, our expectations and the expectations of the society and culture in which we live.

Although the local definition of infertility may vary, the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1 in 3 individuals exit their fertile years with fewer children than they had originally hoped for.

Other drivers of the international fertility market is the variation in cost and availability from country to country, and as we have seen this week, how the legal situation can be different as well.

Today, the global fertility market comprises sperm donation, fertility medications and assisted reproductive technology, including IVF, fertility medication, intrauterine insemination, reproductive surgery (e.g. fallopian tube obstruction, varicocele repair), and surrogacy.

As an industry, it is estimated to be worth between £20-30 billion. Over the next few years, it is expected to grow approximately 4% year-on-year, primarily driven by increased age of prospective parents, a global increase in obesity, and cultural changes that have make fertility treatments more socially acceptable; in some cases, even desirable.

For your discussion: Do you think your country is a net importer or a net exporter of fertility services? Do people generally come to your country to seek fertility treatment, if so what kind?

© UCL
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