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What is the difference between sterility and infertility?

Strictly speaking, the definitions currently accepted are:

  • Primary sterility: when the couple has not managed to achieve a pregnancy after having had unprotected intercourse for a year.
  • Secondary sterility: when, after having had a first child, the couple has not managed to achieve a new pregnancy after having had unprotected intercourse for 2-3 years.
  • Primary infertility: when the couple achieves a pregnancy but is unable to maintain it long enough for it to lead to the birth of a baby.
  • Secondary infertility: when the couple, after a first pregnancy and labour, does not manage to maintain a pregnancy long enough for it to lead to the birth of a baby.

Should I seek help from a specialised centre or can I wait to see if I become pregnant through my own means?

If you would like to become pregnant and have not managed after trying for more than one year, or 6 months if you are over the age of 35, you should seek help from a reproductive health specialist.

We believe that age is the deciding factor; if you are young you can postpone seeking help for longer, but if you are over 35, you should know that from that age onwards fertility clearly declines.

Are sterility problems frequent?

Approximately 20% of couples of reproductive age suffer from fertility problems. In Spain about 800,000 couples are sterile.

Is infertility a problem that affects women or men?

At GINEFIV we believe fertility problems affect the couple as a whole and that it is, therefore, fundamental for both the man and the woman to be equally involved in the different stages of the diagnosis and treatment. In any case, medical research has shown that 50% of fertility problems are attributable to women and 40% to men, although in many cases the causes are mixed, in other words, attributable to both. In the remaining 10% of cases the causes of the sterility are unknown, even once all the diagnostic tests have been carried out.

What is an assisted reproduction clinic?

It is a medical centre highly specialised in the methods of diagnosis and treatment of fertility problems. It is made up of modern facilities and highly qualified staff specialised in the latest Assisted Reproduction Techniques. It is better to seek help from gynaecologists specialised in reproduction because infertility studies include tests that are not carried out during routine gynaecological check-ups.

Is there a waiting list? When could I undergo these treatments?

The current waiting time for the initial consultation is about 15-30 days. If the diagnosis is clear, you can start the treatments immediately. You can, in any case, programme the treatments in the month that best suits you (discuss this part with the nurses).

What are the chances of achieving a pregnancy?

The chances of fertilisation and pregnancy depend on the conditions of every couple and the assisted reproduction technique used. To give you an idea, take a look at our results.

What are the risks involved?

Since the majority of treatments are no longer carried out under general anaesthetic, the risk of complications is very small. Despite the fact that the hormone medication does not involve any risks, the main problem that could arise is the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is caused by the hormone treatment. This syndrome occurs when women respond to the treatments by producing an excessive number of eggs, causing abdominal discomfort during a few days. If that occurs, we sometimes recommend cancelling the medication in order to avoid taking any risks. It only occurs in a small percentage of cases, and through regular check-ups your gynaecologist will be able to tell you whether or not you are at risk. In the worst case, the patient will have to spend a few days under medical supervision at the clinic. For your peace of mind, it is worth noting that in more than 18 years of experience in Assisted Reproduction here at GINEFIV we have not had a single case that had serious consequences for the patient.

The other risk that needs mentioning is multiple pregnancy. If in In Vitro Fertilisation 3 embryos are transferred, the percentage of twin pregnancies is 20% and of triplet pregnancies 4%. If that is a possibility you want to avoid altogether, you can choose to have fewer embryos transferred, although your chances of pregnancy will also be smaller. The increasingly efficient In Vitro Fertilisation processes require ever fewer embryos to be transferred, leading to a fall in the frequency of multiple pregnancies.

Are children born through the use of these techniques the same as other children?

Yes. After monitoring thousands of children around the world born through the use of these techniques (Artificial Insemination, In Vitro Fertilisation, Embryo freezing and thawing, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) it has been fully established that they are at the same risk of genetic alterations, malformations, etc. as the rest of the population. Only in a few cases of male sterility of genetic origin is there a risk, when using the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, of transmitting the paternal sterility to the male offspring, meaning any sons will have to use the same techniques in order to have children.

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