Omega Family Global (OFG) brings together everything needed for new family creation. To better serve its clients, OFG provides educational material for Intended Parents to better understand the medical journey they have embarked upon. This section of our site provides material on infertility. It was written to strike a balance of completeness and ease of understanding. If you have any questions, please contact us.
Infertility Definitions, Various Definitions of Infertility
The broadest definition of infertility is the inability to conceive offspring. In simple language, the term would apply to a man who is unable to impregnate a woman or a woman unable to conceive a child, and/or unable to carry a baby to term.
There are multiple definitions of infertility. For example, in demographic terms, infertility is defined as childlessness in a population of sexually active women of reproductive age. Many definitions of infertility include some type of time period where a child has not been produced and normally would be expected. The length of time needed, during which the couple tries to conceive a child, would have a limit, and after this time period, the couple would be defined as being infertile.
Women also can be described as having primary or secondary infertility. Primary infertility applies to a woman who has not carried a child to term despite attempts to do so. Secondary infertility applies to a woman who has a prior child, or children, and is unable to have another offspring.
An additional term used in childbearing statistics is subfertile. Being subfertile does not mean the person in question is infertile (unable to conceive), but rather is a person with decreased fertility, or who takes longer to have a child compared to normal expectations. Couples described this way might be those that try unsuccessfully to have a child for some set period of time during which other couples would normally have produced a child. People categorized as being subfertile may still have a good chance of getting pregnant. Being subfertile is in contrast to people who are infertile and cannot get pregnant on their own. Both infertility and subfertility are defined as the inability to conceive after a certain period of time (the length of which can vary), so often the two terms overlap.
Time frames without child production are defined differently within medical groups, government agencies, and across countries. There is lack of uniformity in the existing definitions of infertility, thus making comparisons between demographic groups or countries, or over time, difficult. Additionally, for lack of a uniform definition, reports of infertility frequency published by various sources differ significantly.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) clinically defines infertility as the following:
Infertility is defined clinically in women and men who cannot achieve pregnancy after 1 year of having unprotected intercourse. In women older than age 35, the time frame is reduced to 6 months to indicate that earlier evaluation in this age group is appropriate, because fertility declines as a woman gets older.
Most intended parents seeking ART or other fertility treatments will be most familiar with the clinical definition stated by the NIH. The World Health Organization has published a number of definitions of infertility.
These definitions can be accessed through the following link:
This section of the Omega Family Global website is provided for Intended Parents to better understand the medical science behind infertility, and to be better informed about past fertility treatments and future ones they might consider.
Omega Family Global strives to present concise information in a highly readable form. If you desire more detailed information, feel free to contact us.