The World Health Organization defines infertility in terms of a couple wishing to have a child and not having succeeded in achieving a pregnancy after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Infertility is a major problem in developed countries, affecting more than one couple in seven.

Fertility problems can relate to either the man or the woman. It is estimated that 30% of cases of infertility relate solely to the woman, 20% solely to the man, 40% to problems in both partners and 10% are of unknown origin. Depending on the nature of the problem, various medical methods may be used to assist procreation.