The key difference between fertility and fecundity is that fertility is the natural ability of an organism (male or female) to reproduce while fecundity is the reproductive capacity of a single person or a population.
In reproductive health, the terms fertility and fecundity play major roles. These two concepts are widely used in population ecology. In most cases, fertility and fecundity explain processes in mammalian systems. Fertility is the natural ability of an organism to reproduce. The fertility rate of a female depends on the number of births. On the other hand, fecundity is the potential specifically in a female to reproduce. This suggests the potential and the rate of the healthiness of a female to reproduce and give birth to offsprings.
What is Fertility?
Fertility is a natural concept. Organisms can produce offsprings. Therefore, the fertility of an organism depends on the number of births given by a mating pair. Besides, fertility depends on many factors such as nutrition, endocrine system of the organism, behavioural patterns, socio-economic patterns and time, etc. These factors are the determinants of fertility. These determining factors enable a male or a female to become fertile or infertile. Both male and female of the mating pair should be competent enough in order to give rise to an offspring. Therefore, the concept of fertility applies to both the male and the female.
Currently, fertility is a popular issue in human reproductive health. Fertility clinics and new technology are used to induce fertility in patients. Techniques such as in vitro fertilization are modern methods that doctors incorporate to facilitate fertilization among infertile individuals.
What is Fecundity?
Fecundity is not a natural phenomenon. It is a concept introduced by scientists and doctors. Fecundity is the potential for reproduction, especially in the female organism. It is also called the biological capacity to reproduce. Fecundity determines how well a mating couple can reproduce. The health aspect during reproduction is Fecundity. There are different parameters to measure fecundity such as a number of gametes produced or the number of seeds produced and the production rates of hormones required for reproduction, etc. Thus, fecundity depends on the genetics of an individual and environmental factors.
In a population, fecundity is the number of offspring produced per mating season. Thus, this determines how healthy the mating couple is to produce offspring. Also, fecundity suggests the possible potential of a population to reproduce and determines the healthy survival of species. ‘Sterility‘ defines the absence of fecundity in an organism. Thus, a sterile organism does not have the ability or the potential to reproduce.
What are the Similarities Between Fertility and Fecundity?
- Both fertility and fecundity are observed mostly in mammals.
- These concepts describe the reproductive patterns in terms of individuals and populations.
- Also, both provide an idea of the population ecology.
- Moreover, both concepts depend on multiple factors which involved socio-economic, biological and behavioural
What is the Difference Between Fertility and Fecundity?
Fertility and fecundity are two concepts that are very closely related in terms of the ability to produce offsprings. Fertility is the natural capacity to reproduce, and fertility rate is the number of offsprings per couple. On the other hand, fecundity is 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, etc. So fecundity is the reproductive capacity of a single person or a population. Furthermore, fecundity is taken as a measure of fitness and is influenced by genetic factors and environmental factors. So, this is the key difference between fertility and fecundity.
In addition, lack of fertility is infertility while lack of the fecundity is sterility. Hence, it is another difference between fertility and fecundity.
Summary – Fertility vs Fecundity
Fertility and fecundity are two terms which go hand in hand. Fertility is a natural concept which determines the ability to reproduce. In contrast, fecundity is the concept which evaluates the potential of an organism to reproduce. Thus, fertility is measured by the number of offspring per mating couple, whereas fecundity is measured by the number of gametes or seeds produced by a mating couple. If either one individual of the mating couple does not satisfy the two concepts; fertility and fecundity there can be complications during reproduction, fertilization and conceiving. Therefore, these two concepts are very important in population ecology. Thus, this summarizes the difference between fertility and fecundity.
1. Smarr, et al. “Is Human Fecundity Changing? A Discussion of Research and Data Gaps Precluding Us from Having an Answer.” OUP Academic, Oxford University Press, 28 Jan. 2017. Available here