Becoming a parent via natural means is a difficult challenge and there are many reasons why couples and individuals go to an Assisted Reproduction Center to make their dreams of having a child come true.
The difference between infertility, sterility and subfertility
The term infertility refers to the inability to get pregnant and carry a child to term. In other words, the concept includes situations like multiple miscarriages, intrauterine fetal demise, etc.
Primary infertility refers to when a couple is able to get pregnant, but the pregnancy does not result in a healthy newborn. On the other hand, when after a pregnancy and normal delivery, a second healthy pregnancy is not possible, this is referred to as secondary infertility.
Sterility is the inability to get pregnant after one year of normal frequency sexual relations without the use of any contraceptive methods. Primary sterility is when the couple is unable to get pregnant for the first time. Secondary sterility is when a couple is not able to get pregnant again after having been able to have a child previously.
Subfertility is defined as the diminished capacity to conceive. In other words, it’s the inability to achieve a spontaneous pregnancy in a period of time beyond what is required by the average population.
In Western countries, sterility affects 15% of reproductive age couples. Meaning, one in six couples are affected and the number is rising.
Factors that affect Fertility
In the past, the causes for sterility were considered to be masculine in 35-40% of cases, feminine in 35-40% of cases, mixed in 15-20% of cases and of unknown origin in 15-20% of cases.
Nowadays, sterility is not considered as an individual problem but rather as a “condition of the couple” and should be understood, diagnosed and treated as such.
Moderate consumption of alcohol and caffeine do not have a negative impact on fertility. However, cigarettes and high alcohol consumption are inadvisable.
No, but it can be a cause of ovulation disorders. The psychological aspect is not a determining factor in getting pregnant. However, emotional distress in assisted reproduction treatments can have repercussions in the lives of the couples and in the ways of coping with the treatments.
The advanced age of women who would like to conceive is considered as the primary cause for the current increase in sterility in our society. Women’s fertility is at its highest between 20 and 30 years of age. After that, a physiological decline of the genetic make-up begins. The decline increases at 35 and is even more pronounced after 38.