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Infertility and Fertility: Condition Information

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What is infertility?

"Infertility" is a term that describes when a couple is unable to conceive a child after a year of having sex without birth control. In women who are older than age 35, infertility may be diagnosed with a shorter timeframe of 6 months of trying to conceive.

The term "infertility" also is used to describe women who are able to get pregnant but who are unable to carry a fetus to term.1 If loss of the pregnancy occurs before 20 weeks of pregnancy, it is called a miscarriage or clinical spontaneous abortion. Losses after 20 weeks are called stillbirths. Multiple losses of pregnancy are called repeated or recurrent miscarriage.


  1. Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2008). Definitions of infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. Fertility and Sterility, 90(5 Suppl), S60. [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 07/02/2013
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