With couples looking for help turning more and more to the field of medicine for a solution, it has become necessary for doctors to have a criteria they can use as a starting point in the diagnosis and treatment of fertility problems.
But Fertility, Infertility, Fecundity, what does it all mean to the average Joe and Jane?
- Primary Infertility
- Secondary Infertility
- Unexplained Infertility
Fecundity is from the latin fecundus meaning fertile. In plain speech it means being able, according to the natural order of the universe, to have lots of kids. So you have the potential by nature to multiply, to have children according to the human body’s inherent ability to procreate. For men this is what we mean by sowing wild oats.
Fertility is about being fertile or having everything in the right balance that enables you to be able to conceive a child. So even though you have ovaries, your fertility may be reduced if, say, you are not ovulating.
So you may have fecundity but perhaps due to illness, etc your fertility may be compromised and so reducing your chances of conceiving.
When a woman or man has attempted consciously to have a first child but is not conceiving then depending on how long they have been trying, medically he or she may be considered to be infertile.
- Clinically, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) considers a marriage barren or infertile when pregnancy has not occurred after a year of intercourse without contraception.
- Reproductive endocrinologists (doctors trained to treat infertility), consider a couple to be infertile if:
- The couple has not conceived after 12 months of trying without birth control and the female partner is under the age of 34.
- The couple has not conceived after 6 months of sex without birth control and the female partner is over the age of 35.
- Alternatively, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines define infertility as “the failure to conceive after regular unprotected sexual intercourse for 2 years in the absence of known reproductive pathology.” That’s quite a mouthful.
When a couple has been able to conceive and give birth to at least one child, but now has difficulty conceiving a second child then this is known as secondary infertility.
The couple is said to be subfertile, meaning less fertile when compared with a typical couple. Though each partner is producing eggs and sperm respectively, their chances of conceiving a child are three to five percent, i.e., three to five out of every one hundred such couples will eventually conceive a child.
This is when the doctors have done all within their power through tests,etc to find out why a couple aren’t able to have kids and they’re stumped. They have no explanation and have run out of ideas.
Sterility is found where there is absolutely no chance that a woman or man can make a baby because for e.g., the woman has no womb, no ovaries, or eggs in her ovaries. In the case of a man he may have no testicles or suffer from a condition that makes it humanly impossible to make a woman pregnant.