Are sterility and infertility the same?

No, they are two completely different concepts.

Sterility is the inability to conceive whilst infertility is the inability to complete a full term pregnancy and give birth to a healthy child.

This difference is not merely conceptual since the studies carried out in order to understand the causes and the treatment in both cases are totally different.

A couple that is unable to conceive is not the same as a couple that often conceives without difficulties but then sadly finds that the pregnancy does not go full term and has a miscarriage.

  • When is there a fertility issue?

When one year of sexual intercourse without birth control measures has not lead to a pregnancy. This period is shorter when the female is aged between 35 and 40 and treatment should not be put off in cases where the woman is aged over 40. Furthermore, if there is a background of gynaecological or andrological issues in the couple, a study should be carried out as soon as possible because fertility is always a race against time.

  • When is there an infertility issue?

It used to be standard practice to talk about infertility in those cases where three or more pregnancy losses had occurred. Nowadays, given the huge emotional impact caused by pregnancy loss, in those cases where two pregnancy losses have taken place, an analysis and treatment is advised.

As in the case of sterility, the process will get under way right away in those cases where there is a background of reproduction issues.

  • What is the difference between primary and secondary sterility?

Primary sterility exists when the couple has never fallen pregnant and secondary sterility when the issue arises following one successful pregnancy but no further children are born.

  • What is the difference between primary and secondary infertility?

Primary infertility refers to cases in which no pregnancy has gone full term satisfactorily. Secondary infertility is used to refer to those cases in which miscarriages occur after having had one successful pregnancy.

For further information, refer to our website: Causes of infertility and sterility.

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Sterility and Infertility
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