Did you know that infertility and sterility are not actually the same? We discover what they are and what their differences are and why they are not the same.

When we talk about sterility or infertility, it is very common for many people to confuse both terms, when in fact they refer to different problems. In fact, it is quite common for both terms to be used synonymously, mainly because both refer to the inability of the couple to have a baby. However, did you know that it is not actually the same?

But before discovering what these differences are, it is very important to know how long it usually takes to get a pregnancy, since when pregnancy tends not to occur it can be a sign of the existence of a fertility or sterility problem.

About 95 percent of couples who have unprotected sex usually achieve pregnancy within 12 months of trying. Thus, with each relationship, when neither member of the couple has a fertility problem, the probability that the woman will get pregnant is only 24%.

On the other hand, the age of the woman influences her chances of getting pregnant. For example, at 35 years of age the chance of becoming pregnant is 10%, while at 40 years that probability is only 5%. That is, your chances decrease as your age increases.

As you can imagine, this does not mean that a woman who is 35 years old or older cannot have children, but in fact, in a normal way, she will need a longer time to be able to get pregnant.

What is infertility?

Infertility occurs when a woman has managed to become pregnant, but it has not reached term or the baby has died hours after delivery. That is, the woman manages to become pregnant (be it one pregnancy or several), but in all of these they tend not to reach term or the baby born tends to die hours later.

In this sense, we must differentiate between the existence of primary infertility and secondary infertility. When there is primary infertility, the woman is able to become pregnant, but the pregnancy does not reach term or the baby dies shortly after birth.

Secondary infertility, however, is that the couple already has a healthy baby after a normal pregnancy and normal delivery. But when the woman becomes pregnant again, this pregnancy does not reach term.

And what is sterility?

There is talk of sterility when it is not possible to achieve pregnancy. That is, when there is a problem that prevents pregnancy from being achieved.

Generally, a couple is considered sterile when after a year of unprotected sex, pregnancy is not achieved.

Likewise, it is possible to differentiate between two types of sterility: primary sterility and secondary sterility. There is primary sterility when the couple has never managed to have a child. While there is secondary sterility when after having children it is not possible to get a new pregnancy.

Did you know that there are some external causes that can influence the appearance of sterility? For example, the diet that is followed, the habits that are maintained (smoking, drinking alcohol), stress or even the rhythm of life that is followed can directly influence that the couple is not able to achieve pregnancy.

So when is a fertility problem in the couple suspected?

As we mentioned briefly in a previous line, it can be suspected that medically there is a fertility problem when after a year of having sex without any contraceptive method, the couple has not achieved pregnancy. Therefore, when a year has passed and conception has not been achieved, it is always advisable to go to the specialist.

However, we must bear in mind that this waiting period is reduced or shortened when the age of the woman is older. Thus, for example, from 35 years of age it is advisable to go to the specialist when 6 months have passed and pregnancy has not been achieved.


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