Sterility is defined as the inability of the female to become pregnant or for the male to impregnate a female.
When investigating the source of sterility, both partners should be examined. Women should have their vaginal secretions checked, a full pelvic and cervical examination, basal temperature readings and perhaps even a test for patency, or openness, of the fallopian tubes. The male should have his seminal fluid checked for the motility, viability and normality of his sperm.
Treatment of sterility is chosen on a case-to-case basis.
There are five kinds of sterility:
- absolute: sterility as a result of anatomical or physiological factors
- female: the inability of a female to conceive as a result of problems such as the failure to produce viable ova
- male: the inability of a male to produce viable sperm
- primary: sterility resulting from the failure of the testis or ovary to produce functional germ cells
- relative: sterility due to causes other than defects of the sex organs