Latin America's new infertility network will be a support system for those unable to conceive and lead the fight for cheaper medical treatments for would-be parents, its founders told AFP.
Some 400 couples from across the continent gathered in Santiago, Chile last week for a conference to launch The Latin American Network for Infertile Patients.
"The network aims to bring together people with fertility problems, not only heterosexual couples, but single people and gays as well," Macarena Vial, spokeswoman for the Chilean group "Queremos Ser Padres" or "We Want To Be Parents," told AFP.
"In Latin America, there are no publicly financed infertility treatments," said Vial, adding that there was only "very limited" medical coverage for couples seeking help to conceive.
The new organization, which last week signed its official charter, also held meetings to discuss the challenges couples face trying to become pregnant.
The World Health Organization recognized infertility as a disease in 2009. But in Chile, and much of the rest of Latin America, the cost of infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization can be prohibitively high, costing as much as $7,000 per pregnancy attempt.
Members of the new Latin American network hope to be able to negotiate group rates for infertility treatments to bring down costs.
"We believe that with a union of all patients, we can get more coverage for Latin America," said Isabel Rolando, president of an Argentine group attending the network's inaugural gathering.
The Latin American Network of Infertile Patients will hold its next meeting in Mexico in 2014.