In Italy the fertility rate is one of the lowest in Europe (1.3 children on average per woman), significantly below the population maintenance rate (2.1). This phenomenon, if not corrected, in the future could lead to the unsustainability of our welfare system.
Fertility, which expresses the ability of women and men to reproduce, is strongly influenced by age. In particular, for women whose reproductive cells, oocytes, decrease in number over time (starting from the age of 32) and become less efficient, with a greater probability of manifesting genetic problems. In fact, the main cause of female infertility is precisely advanced maternal age. Men have the ability to produce sperm throughout life, but their number, concentration and quality worsen after age 40 with an increase in genetic anomalies.
It is estimated that in Italy about 15% of couples are infertile. Infertility canarise in women and men equally. Among the causes there are often pathologies that are preventable and, in any case, easily treatable if dealt with promptly. Information is therefore the cornerstone of primary prevention.
The Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS, the National Institute of Health in Italy) carries out studies on reproductive health and fertility issues and promotes information campaigns for the population. Furthermore, it coordinates training activities for health workers on fertility preservation techniques in specific segments of the population. Finally, on the basis of the data collected through the National Medically Assisted Procreation Register (Registro nazionale procreazione medicalmente assistita, PMA), the ISS annually prepares a report to the Minister of Health with an epidemiological evaluation on PMA techniques to evaluate its efficacy and safety in the treatment of infertility.