Infertility and its management from a pharmacological perspective

Dagsson, Gunnar Þór
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Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after at least 12 months of regular and unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility is a medical problem of increasing prevalence and is estimated to affect 8-12% of couples of reproductive age worldwide. Treatment options vary between female and male infertility and based on the underlying etiology. Ovulation induction agents are the most commonly used pharmacological option and are often the first line treatment option in females. Ovulation induction agents are a heterogenous group of drugs with a rich history and widely differing pharmacological profiles. Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) are the mainstay of treatment in male infertility. Although male infertility is highly prevalent among infertile couples, the treatment burden often rests almost solely on women. More research into and development of pharmacological treatment options for male infertility may increase the proportion of infertile couples that achieve conception and live birth with treatment.