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What is the difference between sterility and infertility?

Surrogacy Agency Colombia

Approximately 25% of couples at some point in their lives consider the possibility that either of them is infertile or sterile. In common jargon these are two words that are used without making a precise distinction.

The truth is that both words have a notable difference, to the point where depending on their nature, the assisted medical center offers specialized treatments in case the alteration can be treated.

These can be triggered from birth, be hereditary or even manifest after having children. The causes are multiple. For this reason, check-ups every six months with a trusted doctor are recommended.

sterility and infertility

When to know if it is sterility?

This term is used when the couple has been having sexual intercourse for a constant time, to conceive the pregnancy (the estimated time is approximately one to two years) and for different reasons the ovum is not fertilized.

In general, the clinical study of the couple begins after completing the period of time trying to get pregnant, without using any contraceptive method.

The causes are varied and can be triggered by both men and women. But generalizing, some of the reasons may be.

single woman

In Women:

  • Ovulatory factors, which can be very diverse. Since it includes the entire process of formation, growth and maturation of the follicle. When the follicle reaches its last phase, it ruptures and the ovum is released for fertilization. The follicle is formed during menstruation.
  • The fallopian tubes play an important role in the fertilization of the ovum, there are women who for various reasons have it obstructed and cannot pass semen regularly.
  • The uterus can also present abnormalities that prevent the correct arrangement of the fertilized ovum in the cavity or the proper development of fertilization.

The above causes are not linked to the external life of the woman, but there are reasons that increase the probability of being sterile. As they are:

  • Cigarette smoking
  • Extreme weights can be both anorexia and obesity.
  • Age is a factor to take into account, especially when the woman is 35 years old and older.
  • Cancer treatments can trigger consequences that affect the correct development of the ovum or produce an ovulatory alteration.


  • Different conditions throughout a man’s life can alter the constitution of semen. What causes low quality of sperm or the disappearance of the same.
  • Another cause is the obstruction of the sperm channels, which do not allow an adequate circulation of the semen.
  • Some genetic cause may be preventing the correct formation of sperm.
  • Inability to expel sperm, which remains confined to the scrotum.

As in women, lifestyle is a factor that can influence when diagnosing infertility. Some factors (including those of the woman), can be:

  • Alcohol
  • Constant stress
  • High temperatures near the scrotum can alter the channel through which sperm circulate. Prohibiting its normal development.

When to know if it is infertility?

The doctor diagnoses infertility when the ovum is fertilized, but due to various alterations, it is not possible to maintain the pregnancy until its birth.

Despite having been fertilized, in the first pregnancies there are couples who experience a spontaneous abortion, but with a clinical study it can be concluded whether it is infertility or not.

When a couple experiences an abortion more than three times in a year, it is advisable to go to a medical center for a more in-depth study, and usually if infertility is diagnosed.
Like sterility, the causes can be varied.

single woman

In Women:

  • Thyroid problems (hormonal problems)
  • Diabetes.
  • The ovum is fertilized but the ovarian cavity presents alterations or it may be that the ovum itself has deficiencies.
  • Adrenal problems (partial or complete alteration of the glands that secrete hormones)
  • The lifestyle of the pregnant woman is a determining factor.


  • Alterations in thechromosome Y, such as abnormalities in the arrangement of the chromosomes.
  • Psychological causes.
  • Thyroid or diabetes factors are also determining factors

The difference between sterility and infertility is evident in the process that manages to develop before you cannot complete all the facets.

  • If you do not get pregnant, it is sterility.
  • If you actually fertilize the ovum, and weeks or months later you cannot fully gestate the pregnancy, it is infertility.

Most commonly, infertility has a more negative effect on the couple than sterility. Since the fetus can develop until the last months of pregnancy, and then have a sudden loss. If the couple has suffered this misfortune on several occasions, it is advisable to visit a psychologist to heal possible emotional wounds.

When one of these cases is diagnosed, it must be taken into account that it does not present a limitation to form a family. There are other methods that allow the transmission of genetic material in order to contribute the biology of the couple to the new member of the family.
Among the most frequently used techniques are:

IVF Technique (in vitro fertilization): It consists of the patient’s eggs or also an egg donation in case the intended mother is disabled, and the partner’s semen. They are fertilized outside the uterus (in vitro) and are introduced into the pregnant woman (who can be the mother or consequently a third person).

IA technique (artificial insemination): Once the semen is extracted from the couple or by a sperm donor, the insemination process is simulated in the patient’s uterus and the ovulation process begins.

Each couple is different, and may develop inability to manifest pregnancy or maintain it until delivery. It is important to note that it is not a restriction. The different techniques can offer each man or woman the possibility of achieving what they dream of parenting their child under their genetic material.