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Differences between sterility and infertility

Differences between sterility and infertility

  1. <span  class="bbp-author-name">Olivia1976</span>

    Hello Doctor, I’ve a question that is killing me since I found out I was sterile or infertile. I often see people using the terms “sterility” and “infertility” with no difference, and I understand they refer to the same concept every time they use them. But I’ve read somewhere that they do not have exactly the same meaning so I’m writing here with the expectation that you can give me some explanations on this. Mainly because I don’t know what to say, “I’m sterile” or “I’m infertile”. Thank you Sir/Madam

    04/01/2016 at 9:39 am
  2. Dear Olivia,

    that is a very good question, as many people have that doubt, too. Strictly speaking, the definition of sterility can be divided into the following types:

    1. Primary sterility: it is diagnosed when a couple haven’t achieved pregnancy after a whole year engaging into unprotected sexual activity.
    2. Secondary sterility: after having their child, a couple may be unable to get pregnancy for a second time; it is diagnosed in the case of couples who don’t achieve so after an entire year trying to conceive unsuccessfully.

    As for “infertility”, we can also distinguish between “primary infertility” and “secondary infertility”. Definitions are given hereunder:

    1. Primary infertility: in this case, a couple can achieve pregnancy, but the woman is unable to carry it to term (miscarriage) for a number of reasons.
    2. Secondary infertility: when a couple, after a first pregnancy and subsequent labor, is unable to carry a second pregnancy to term.

    See also: What is the difference between infertility, sterility and subfertility?

    I hope now you understand what is the difference between these two concepts,


    04/07/2016 at 11:01 am
  3. Hi, dears. In fact, I was confused between sterility and infertility. I was thought that they are the same and no difference but soon I knew the difference. I think fertility and infertility are two different conditions. There are two terms in sterility (primary and secondary). Primary Sterility – When a couple has not been able to conceive after having had unprotected intercourse for a year. Secondary Sterility – When, after having had the first child, a couple has not managed to achieve a second pregnancy after having had unprotected intercourse for two to three years. Also, infertility has two terms (primary and secondary). Primary Infertility – When a woman becomes pregnant but is unable to carry the pregnancy long enough to deliver a baby. Secondary Infertility – When a couple, after a first pregnancy and labor, is unable to carry the pregnancy long enough to deliver a baby. I recommend you to find medical professionals to guide you through the process of evaluating sterility or infertility. I hope that now you know the difference between sterility and infertility.

    09/25/2017 at 9:00 pm
  4. 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 conceived without difficulties but which then sadly finds that the pregnancy does not go full term.

    01/04/2018 at 7:08 pm
  5. Hi Olivia. Sterility means that a person is not able to have children due to either biological reasons (e.g. Born without ovaries), or because an intervention has been made that makes them unable to reproduce (e.g. Tubal ligation, vasectomy).Infertility means that a person is having a difficult time conceiving, usually due to biological reasons. Examples would be low sperm count or irregular ovulation. Infertility (or sterility) can also be caused by being exposed to certain chemicals, for instance, chemotherapy.Hope this helps!

    01/16/2018 at 4:59 am
  6. You asked a very important question. I think many of the couples should understand the basics well. Because when you visit a doctor you have to get all the possible information from them. I want to let you give information about infertility. It’s something simple like. You are unable to get pregnant as a woman. You don’t have a healthy egg from which you can produce a baby. While on the other hand sterility is something related to men, those who are not able to produce healthy sperm. I think you got the main difference between them.

    01/20/2018 at 6:25 am
    • Dear nancybridge,

      Actually, I’m afraid that’s not the difference between ‘infertility’ and ‘sterility’. In spite of the common misconception, ‘sterility’ is not related to males exclusively. It just refers to the impossibility for egg and sperm to fuse together. In people with sterility, fertilization never occurs.

      As for ‘infertility’, indeed that’s the inability to carry a pregnancy to term.

      Visit this post to get more details: What’s the Difference between Infertility, Sterility & Subfertility?

      I hope I have been able to help,

      Best wishes

      01/23/2018 at 1:40 pm
  7. hi Olivia! Hope you are doing good. Yes, you are asking a very good question as there is not a clear difference between sterile and infertile. Both terms are often used side by side as both have the same conclusion that is “no babies”. Sterility means an inability of the couple to reproduce themselves due to the lack of sperms production and no ovulation. In case of infertility, there is also no conception of embryo due to any other reason. Thanks

    01/25/2018 at 12:52 am