The inability to conceive and/or carry to term a pregnancy. On an imagined spectrum ranging from completely sterile (complete absence of physiological reproductive capacity) to unusually fertile (e.g. a woman who conceives more often than an average woman, that being around 20 to 30 percent chance in each ovulatory cycle), most people will experience varying degrees of fertility throughout a typical lifespan.
Levels of fertility -- that is, a body's ability to reproduce -- are impacted by many different factors, related primarily to overall health, physical conditions, and lifestyle choices. To simplify diagnosis, a time-based point of view may provide guidance in deciding whether or not to seek fertility treatment. The current perspective, as stated by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, defines infertility as failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of more of regular, unprotected intercourse. Fertility experts also recommend that women older than 35 years should consider seeking treatment after only six months of unprotected intercourse, because chances for successful treatment diminish significantly with passing time.
Disclaimer: All information provided in this glossary is for educational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for advice provided by a medical doctor or qualified healthcare provider. You should not use this information for self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. If you have any questions whatsoever about your medical health or believe you have a medical problem or disease, you should contact your medical doctor or healthcare provider. You should never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical advice or treatment because of something you have read in this glossary. No guarantee is made about the accuracy, completeness, or relevance of the information contained herein.