Infertility problems on increase in Portugal

INFERTILITY IS a growing phenomenon and around 500,000 couples currently suffer in Portugal, according to João Silva Carvalho, President of the Portuguese Society for Reproductive Medicine, speaking at a congress in Porto.

“The State does not support these couples sufficiently. Often they don’t have the money for treatment,” he said. “The national health assistance is insufficient: only 40 per cent of the treatment cost is covered and it’s rare for the problem to be solved at the first attempt,” he said, adding that the medication can cost around 1,000 euros and, if the couple has the treatment privately, the insurance companies don’t pay. “It’s essential the government obliges the insurance companies to recognise infertility as an illness,” he said, pointing out the current low birth rate.

He also warned the number of infertile couples will continue to increase: “Sexually transmittable diseases, lower quality sperm and the later age at which woman begin trying to conceive are some of the reasons why the problem is worsening.”

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