What is the Difference Between Sterility and Infertility?

What is the Difference Between Sterility and Infertility?

Infertility and sterility are terms that are often used synonymously but in reality, there is a fine line that differentiates the two. Most people who consider themselves to be sterile are actually only infertile. The confusion in understanding the two terms has popularized a number of myths. Here is the truth behind some of them.

What is Sterility?

Not being able to conceive a child is the most common sterility symptom. A person is said to be sterile if he or she is physically incapable of ever having a child without medical intervention. In the case of men, this refers to an absence of sperm in semen and in the case of women; this refers to the nonexistence of ovulation. This may be because of birth defects such as being born without ovaries or the result of surgical intervention such as tubal ligature or a vasectomy. Here are the 3 most common myths about sterility:

Myth: Male infertility is known as sterility
Fact: Both men and women can be diagnosed as sterile.

Myth: Sterility is as common as infertility
Fact: Infertility can be considered as a type of sterility but not everyone who is diagnosed as infertile is sterile. Thus, the latter is more common.

Myth: Men who have no sperm in their semen can never father children
Fact: This is not always true. If the absence of sperm in semen is caused by a blockage, a doctor may harvest sperm directly from the testes and use the same to fertilize an egg via IVF.

What is Infertility?

A man or woman can be diagnosed with infertility if they are unable to conceive a child naturally despite having planned, unprotected sexual intercourse for over a year. Infertility can be caused by many factors. Depending on the factors triggering it, infertility may be treated with medication, hormonal therapy or surgery. In cases of unexplained infertility, IVF is often the best option.Here are the most common 3 myths about infertility.

Myth: Infertility is rare
Fact: Infertility is quite common but many cases go undiagnosed because people assume themselves to be sterile and do not consult a doctor.

Myth: Couples who have had one child do not need to be worried about infertility when conceiving a second child.
Fact: 30% of couples diagnosed with infertility already have a child. Thus, even if a couple already has one or more children, they may still be diagnosed with infertility.

Myth: Age only affects women’s fertility
Fact: Age affects fertility in both men and women. After the age of 30 years, as a woman grows older, the number of viable eggs reduces. Similarly, as a man grows older after the age of 40 years, semen volume decreases.