Infertility in the Middle East Region: Figures and Statistics


Infertility in the Middle East Region: Figures and Statistics


Middle East (ME) is known to be a vast region that includes 18 countries with more than 300 million population and a high level of diversity and heterogeneity in cultures, resources, income per capita, healthcare services, birth rate, total fertility rates and life expectancy.(1)

Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve the inability to clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.” While this definition is used in all clinical practice, the demographic definition of infertility, widely used in international surveys is "an inability to become pregnant with a live birth, within 5 years of exposure based upon a consistent union status, lack of contraceptive use, nonlactating, and maintaining a desire for a child.”(2)

Statistically, it is estimated that 70 to 80 million couples suffer from infertility worldwide (1) with male infertility cases range from 20% to 70% (3). The incidence of infertility varies between countries and reaches 9% in some African countries like Gambia and 35% in other countries like Nigeria.(1)

Studies have demonstrated that different reasons are behind the infertility depending on the country and the level of incidence. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), sickle cell diseases, endometriosis are additional reasons leading to infertility. (3)



In the Middle East region, the infertility rates differ among countries and reach a range of 10 to 15 % of married couples. The main reasons behind such infertility range are: Post–partum infection (following child birth), post–abortive infection, iatrogenic infertility (medical treatment medications) and other medical diseases like Tuberculosis.(1)

The market assessment conducted by MEALIS team late 2017 pre-launching the “Microfluidic Sperm Sorting technology”  showed that the increase of infertility centers among the MEA (Middle East and Africa) region is a reply to the market needs. The estimated number of treated couples exceeds the 180 000 cases annually.(4)

Despite that there is no published gender statistics specifically for the MEA region, the market feedback shows that male infertility cases treated reached 60% of the total number of treated cases. In fact, “two out of nine men suffer from fertility problems”, said Prof Dr Human Fatemi, Consultant Reproductive Medicine & Reproductive Surgery, Medical Director, IVI Middle East Fertility Clinic. Major contributors for male infertility are the changing lifestyle, smoking, obesity, stressful work environment, and consanguinity.

Moreover, there are more than 160 infertility centers across the region with the major bulk present in Iran and Egypt.  50 000 infertility cases are being treated annually in 70 centers in Iran only. While in Egypt, the assessment showed around 50 000 infertility cases treated in 62 centers which was in line with the statistics mentioned in certain studies.(5)

The expansion in the number of infertility centers in the MEA region is the result of governmental support, partial or full treatment cost coverage by insurances and the desire of MEA families to have children.

This increase in the number of infertility centers led to a positive competition, developed the quality of the service provided across the same country and subsequently decreased the cost of the infertility treatment in the Middle East region in comparison with other regions.(5)



  • Medical and socio-cultural aspects of infertility in the Middle East ESHRE Monographs, Volume 2008, Issue 1, 1 July 2008, Pages 34–41
  • Infertility in the Middle East and North Africa Region: A systematic review with meta-Analysis of prevalence surveys
  • Prevalence of primary and secondary infertility from tertiary center in eastern Saudi Arabia: Middle East Fertility Society Journal, Volume 20, issue 4, December 2015, pages 237-240
  • MEALIS marketing department.

 Access to Infertility Services in Middle East : J Reprod Infertil. 2015 Oct-Dec; 16(4): 179