India may be known worldwide for it’s teeming millions, but ironically, even in populous India, infertility is the single largest ‘disease’ that is affecting young people at their prime. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, about 10-15 per cent (or 13-19 million) of married couples in India are infertile. This is a rather overwhelming figure, especially in light of the fact that diabetes (another high incidence ailment) is a mere 3-5 per cent.
Many fertility specialists in India also suspect that infertility is largely psychosomatic among the educated and employed upper and middle classes. Experts also feel that lifestyle changes of the 21st century have adversely affected fertility, resulting in low sperm count, infections, chronic disease and erectile dysfunction in the male and damaged fallopian tubes, low egg production and fibroids in the female.
The problem is prevalent among professionals in the fast mode, such as busy professionals in the software and IT sector. Working at the computer for 8-12 hours at a stretch, lack of attention or time for nutrition and a disturbed sleep cycle have all become perfect ingredients for infertility.
Other Common Reasons for Infertility Include:
Stress is bad for baby making. It plays havoc with sex lives, leading to problems like erectile dysfunction, reduction in sperm count and impotence in men. In women, an anxious lifestyle affects the intra uterine environment and the quality of ova and also causes menstrual disturbances.
Nocturnal call centre employees suffer from hormonal disturbances caused by changing sleep rhythms and bio-cycles. Night shift jobs also mean that couples often meet each other only on weekends.
Pollution is a villain too. The carbon monoxide inhaled during long-distance commutes to work affects fertility in men – and reduces sperm count.
Bad food habits – like the growing consumption of heat-and-eat food – and obesity caused by sedentary jobs and lack of exercise contribute to infertility.
The infertility industry is clearly booming in India. Currently, there are more than 300 IVF clinics across India and the numbers are projected to double in the next two years.
The good news is that there is definitely an increasing awareness about infertility in society today. It is no longer a taboo topic, and couples, supported by their families, are much more willing to seek medical assistance.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.