Smriti, a hard-working, urban career-oriented woman had lost all hope after her pregnancy test stick showed a negative result every time. It had been more than four years but the test result never changed. She was 33 and her husband was 36. She has tried various techniques like having supplemental pills and herbal pills to get pregnant. Her family had been pestering her and blaming her for not getting pregnant. She had been tagged ‘infertile’ by her relatives and family behind her back.
The constant taunting and uncomfortable questions lead to her depression, until a friend of hers suggested she goes to an infertility clinic. The doctor asked her to get a fertility test done along with her husband. While her fertility test turned out to be positive, it was her husband whose sperm had morphology abnormalities. However, after 2 years, she had the opportunity to become a mother through artificial insemination.
With every passing year, more and more Indian couples are getting affected by infertility. As per studies, about one in every six urban couples faces infertility issues these days. In answer to the patriarchal belief that it is the women who face infertility issues, there have been reports to prove that about 40% of infertility cases are due to men. It may be due to inadequate sperm count, abnormal sperm morphology or low sperm motility.
Now let us look at the individual reasons for male and female infertility –
Reasons for Female Infertility:
As women age, their eggs also start aging. By the early 30’s, a woman’s fertility starts declining and it drops to 40% by the time they reach age 35. These days as women plan to take the responsibility of a kid quite late, most of the times after their 30’s, they tend to face an infertility issue.
This is a sick reproductive health issue that can damage the ovaries affecting ovulation and hence infertility. In similar way, a damaged or blocked fallopian tube also prevents egg to travel to the uterus.
This medical condition affects the menstrual and ovulation cycle in women. It happens due to the presence of numerous cysts outside ovaries and accounts for 30% infertility in women.
Other than these, other reasons that affect female infertility are weight, hormonal imbalances and STI.
Reasons for Male Infertility:
Abnormal sperm –
This accounts for both the quantity and quality of sperm. Sometimes, men suffer from very low or no sperm at all in their semen. Similarly, the quality of the sperm is equally important for the egg to fertilize. Poor quality of sperms includes low sperm mobility or abnormal sperm morphology. These factors also affect the transport of sperms to eggs and fertilize it.
Damage to testicles –
If your testicles are damaged, it impacts your fertility as both the quantity and quality of sperms are affected.
Premature ejaculation –
When a person suffers from premature ejaculation, there is almost a nil chance of sperm meeting the egg. This problem might arise due to prostate health issues, nerve issues or medications.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices –
There are a number of lifestyle factors that pose a negative impact on sperm health. Excessive alcohol, drugs, smoking, steroids, marijuana, obesity, unhealthy diet and STIs block sperm to travel.
Other than these, surgeries or complications that might arise from radiation therapy also results I male infertility.
Medical science has advanced a lot and helps couples who have been struggling to conceive for long. However, to avoid all such stress and tension, it is advisable that you go for couple fertility tests before you plan to extend your family.