What are the differences between infertility and sterility?

Although in Anglo-Saxon countries the term “infertility” is used for both concepts, in our environment we differentiate both situations, using the word sterility for those couples who do not manage to get pregnant and the word infertility for those couples who do manage to get pregnant, but miscarry again and again without having their desired child.

Does infertility affect men and women equally?

Practically yes. We could say that, at present, 40% of infertility cases have their origin in the male. In another 40% the cause is in the woman, and in the remaining 20% we see reasons for not achieving pregnancy in both members of the couple at the same time.

Is it a common problem?

It is a much more frequent problem than people think. It seems less so, because it is still a “taboo” subject that many couples do not talk about freely in their immediate circle. To give you an idea, there are currently some 600,000 couples registered in Spain who suffer from sterility, with an annual increase of almost 16,000 couples. This makes sterility not only a medical problem, but also a social problem.

What is the influence of age?

The woman’s age is a determining factor and the main factor that influences the success or failure of Assisted Reproduction treatments: a woman’s fertility begins to decrease after the age of 30, and after the age of 35 the decrease is much more pronounced.

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When should we go to a specialist?

Basically on three occasions:

  • If a member of the couple suffers from any disease or condition that decreases their fertility (varicocele, endometriosis, polycystic ovaries, etc.).
  • If a woman under 35 years of age does not get pregnant after 1 year of trying.
  • If the woman is older than 35 years old and cannot get pregnant after 6 months of trying.

What solutions exist?

Fortunately, nowadays there are many solutions: if the couple is advised and follows the professional’s indications, it is much more likely to achieve pregnancy than not to achieve it.