The key difference between fertility and infertility is that fertility is the capability of an organism to produce an offspring under natural conditions while infertility is the inability of an organism to reproduce through natural processes and produce an offspring.
Reproduction is an important aspect for the continuity of a species/population. Hence, it is a fundamental feature of all living organisms. Reproduction happens in two ways; they are the sexual and asexual reproduction. Most of the animals including humans carry out sexual reproduction. It is a process where two gametes; each from a male and a female fuse together to form a zygote, which later develops into an organism. The success of the above procedure depends on the fertility of the two individuals; the male and female organisms.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Fertility
3. What is Infertility
4. Similarities Between Fertility and Infertility
5. Side by Side Comparison – Fertility vs Infertility in Tabular Form
What is Fertility?
Fertility is the capability of an organism to produce an offspring under natural conditions. Fertility rate is a measure of fertility of an individual or a population and given by the number of offsprings born per mating couple. Factors such as sexual behaviour, nutrition, culture, endocrinology, economics, instinct and emotions influence human fertility. Accordingly, general factors that directly associate with the increased fertility are the intention of both parties to have children, religiosity and maternal support, etc. However, in females, a hormonal cycle (which is 28 days long) determines the exact time to achieve pregnancy. But, in males, it is different, and they are capable of producing an offspring whenever they desire.
Moreover, the females are fertile for five days per cycle but, it may deviate from one individual to another. Men are fertile throughout the life but, the sperm quality may reduce with ejaculation frequency, health and various environmental factors. Besides, age is a major cause for the decrease of fertility in both sexes.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is the inability of an organism (human, animal or plant) to reproduce naturally. In the context of human infertility, it is the inability of the female to get pregnant. Many factors affect fertility. Especially, a woman should complete several steps to become pregnant. They are ovulation, movement of the sperm towards the egg, the viability of the sperm within the female body, successful fertilization, movement of the fertilized egg towards the uterus through the fallopian tube and attachment. Failure in one or more steps mentioned above will cause infertility in females.
Furthermore, problems in ovulation, hostile uterus, disease conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, sparse or absent menstrual cycles also serve as the common causes of female infertility. On the other hand, erectile dysfunction, low sperm count, semen deficiencies and low-quality semen are the common factors that cause male infertility.
Infertility is not a natural state of a healthy individual. The inability to become pregnant could result due to female infertility, male infertility or due to combined complications. Apart from these factors, environmental factors also could cause infertility.
Moreover, infertile conditions could be temporary or may occur permanently. With recent development in biomedical technology, temporary infertile conditions could be treated with physical therapy. But permanent infertility is not curable.
What are the Similarities Between Fertility and Infertility?
- Fertility and infertility decide the fate of reproduction.
- Also, both have link with the reproductive system.
What is the Difference Between Fertility and Infertility?
Fertility is the capability of an organism to produce offspring under natural conditions. On the other hand, infertility refers to the inability of n organism to produce offspring under natural conditions. Therefore, this is the key difference between fertility and infertility. Some more details on the difference between fertility and infertility are given below.
Summary – Fertility vs Infertility
Reproduction is a fundamental feature of all living organisms. And, the whole reproduction process depends on the fertility of organisms. That is; fertility is the capability of an organism to produce an offspring under natural conditions. Therefore, for successful reproduction, both individuals should be fertile. On the other hand, infertility is the inability of an organism (human, animal or plant) to reproduce via natural processes. Infertility is subcategorized into male and female infertility. Infertility is not a natural state of a healthy individual. Moreover, the terms fertility and infertility could refer to an individual or a population. Thus, this summarizes the difference between fertility and infertility.
1.Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Fertility.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 4 Oct. 2013. Available here
2.“Reproductive Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18 Apr. 2018. Available here
1.”Trends in TFR 1950-2050″By Rcragun – Own work, (CC BY 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Infertility causes”By Häggström, Mikael (2014). “Medical gallery of Mikael Häggström 2014”. WikiJournal of Medicine 1 (2). DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.008. ISSN 2002-4436. (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia