Background: Infertility has been considered as a serious public health problem.
Nevertheless, it is still very difficult to assess the epidemiology of this individual and public health
problem. On the other hand, promotion of access to infertility treatments must be treated as a
priority to national and regional policies.
Objective: The aim was to evaluate the perception of women concerning the barriers and access to
Methods: Socio cultural and economic access to infertility consultations is detached and three
municipalities of the northwest of Portugal were chosen as an example of a peripheral country. A
quantitative/qualitative study was done with 60 women.
Results: Three dimensions were evaluated: geographic and structural and functional access,
economic access and sociocultural access. The main barriers were mainly identified in the last two
dimensions. The economic access was less well evaluated by women bearing the cost of treatment
(medication, and concentration of costs in a short period) which is difficult to bear.
Conclusion: This can justify a greater involvement of the Portuguese Government, by developing
policies for the reimbursement of part of the costs. Also, some changes in structural and functional
access must be done with special regard to the separation of the infertility consultations from the
reproductive medicine section. The setting of the teams, with a follow-up by the same team of
health professionals is also needed.