Fertility vs Fecundity
Fertility and fecundity are two concepts that are very closely related, and have gained currency in modern times because of the problems of infertility, and also to devise ways to control the populations of various species that have the potential to lead to ecological imbalance. Both fecundity and fertility pertain to ability to produce offspring and this is why many people remain confused with their differences. This article will highlight the features of both fecundity and fertility to make these differences clear.
If we think of 25 year old females in a population, barring a few who are incapable of producing offspring, 95% are physiologically capable of giving birth to babies. But, only about 10% may actually give birth to a baby in a year. Both, who are capable of producing offspring and those who actually produce offspring are technically fertile which is why it becomes difficult to differentiate between the concepts of fertility and fecundity. There are differing views of demographers and biologists on these two terms that compound the misery of common people. Demographers say that fecundity is the ability to have babies and fertility is the rate at which women actually have babies. On the other hand, biologists say that capacity to produce offspring is fertility while fecundity is actual realization.
Fertility is the natural capacity to reproduce and fertility rate is defined as the offspring per couple. It is to be differentiated from fecundity which is described by scientists and doctors as the potential to reproduce which is dependent upon many other factors such as fertilization of eggs by sperms and the ability to successfully carry the term of pregnancy. So fecundity is reproductive capacity of a single person or a population. In human beings, fecundity is often intentionally limited because of the necessity to have a small family so as to be better able to provide good means of living to all family members. On the other hand, there is no restriction of other organisms to reproduce. Fecundity is taken as a measure of fitness and is influenced by genetic factors and environmental factors.
Population ecology is one field of ecology where the concept of fecundity is very common. It has been proved by researchers that economic hardships such as lack of employment and food etc have a negative effect on fecundity and it has been shown to decrease. A lack of fecundity is reflected in sterility.
Difference Between Fertility and Fecundity
• Fertility is a broader term that is used for soils besides organisms, fecundity applies only on organisms
• Fertility rate describes offspring per couple, individual or a population whereas fecundity refers to natural ability to reproduce.
• Fecundity is affected by genetics, and environmental factors such as economic hardships etc. In hard financial times, fecundity goes down.
• Fertility depends upon emotions, way of life, food habits and intake of alcohol and other drugs.