Differences between sterility and infertility (primary and secondary)

ARE STERILITY AND INFERTILITY THE SAME?

No, they are two completely different concepts.

Sterility is the inability to conceive and 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 given in both cases are totally different.

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

WHEN IS THERE A FERTILITY ISSUE?

When one year of sexual relationships 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 those 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.

WHEN IS THERE AN INFERTILITY ISSUE?

It was usual 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'S 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 pregnancies.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PRIMARY AND SECONDARY INFERTILITY?

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

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