Differences between infertility and sterility: Myths and truths
Unfortunately, according to the World Health Organization, infertility affects approximately 186 million people in the world. It is a growing problem and also a business that generates a lot of money.
Infertility affects approximately 186 million people in the world. (Image taken from Freepik )
When entering the world of infertility, it is common not to know all the concepts and to find yourself with a whole vocabulary, which can be complex and quite confusing. It is not necessary to become an expert, but having knowledge can help you better understand your doctor and health professionals.
That is why we hope we can help you understand some of the most important concepts, understand the differences between some definitions and clear up some of the myths and facts about infertility.
What are the differences between infertility and sterility?
A person is considered clinically infertile if they have been unable to conceive through regular unprotected intercourse for 12 months or more (6 months for people over 35). Infertility is extremely common. Once the cause of infertility is diagnosed and treated, most previously infertile couples are able to conceive successfully. The Female infertility , like the male, registers 30% of the cases and 20% are mixed or combined. That is, where both members of the couple are affected. Some common causes are:
Common causes of infertility in women
- Alterations of the thyroid gland.
- Uterine abnormalities, such as fibroids, adhesions or abnormalities in the anatomy of the uterus.
- Advanced maternal age: from 35 years.
- endometriosis .
- Autoimmune diseases.
- Sexually transmitted diseases: chlamydia, gonorrhea, AIDS, etc.
- Coagulation problems.
- Fallopian tube problems.
- Eating disorders: anorexia or obesity.
- Ovulation disorders, such as anovulation (absence of ovulation which occurs when the ovaries do not release eggs) or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Common causes of infertility in men
- Hormonal alterations that affect the function of the testicles.
- Alterations in the anatomy of the male reproductive system.
- Obesity, smoking and unhealthy lifestyle habits.
- Problems in the testicles that hinder spermatogenesis (sperm formation process), and that affect seminal quality, such as asthenospermia, azoospermia or oligospermia.
- Post-testicular problems: impotence, infections.
Whereas, a clinically sterile person cannot conceive, either through medical or surgical intervention, or through assisted reproductive technologies. Infertility is usually the result of a medical condition or a surgical procedure, such as a vasectomy, hysterectomy, or ectopic pregnancy that results in the removal of a fallopian tube. Chromosomal disorders, such as Klinefelter syndrome, may also cause infertility.
There are differences between being infertile and being sterile. It happens to both women and men. (Image taken from Freepik )
Are there chances of pregnancy for people suffering from infertility?
There are several different medical and surgical options available to treat infertility conditions, although many people who are considered clinically infertile are able to conceive naturally despite these conditions. Many infertile couples may also consider assisted reproductive technologies such as intrauterine insemination (AI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve a successful pregnancy.
What is the difference between primary and secondary infertility?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the term primary infertility is used when a man or woman has never conceived and secondary infertility is the inability to conceive in a couple who have had at least one successful pregnancy in the past.
Myths and truths about infertility and sterility
Myth: Male infertility is known as sterility.
Fact: Both men and women can be diagnosed as infertile.
Myth: sterility is as common as infertility
Reality: Infertility can be considered a type of sterility, but not all people diagnosed as infertile are sterile.
Myth: Men who do not have sperm in their semen can never father children.
Reality: This is not always true. If the absence of sperm in the semen is caused by a blockage, a doctor can collect sperm directly from the testicles and use them to fertilize an egg through IVF.
Myth: infertility is very rare.
Reality: Infertility is quite common, but many cases go undiagnosed because people assume they are sterile and don't see a doctor.