India is facing a fertility problem and it’s not that of over population.
According to Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, infertility affects 10 to 14 percent of the Indian population. While data remains limited, most doctors tell us infertility rates in urban areas have shot up, with some estimating one in every six couples could have infertility problems.
According to a 2015 Ernst and Young report, 27.5 million couples who are actively seeking children suffer from infertility in India. While female factor accounts for 40-50% of cases, male factor is on the rise, with 30-40% .
The same report rings an alarm bell:
Assuming the marital rate in 2020 is similar to current rate, the number of couples is forecast to increase from 220 million in 2015 to 244 million by 2020.
Top reasons for infertility in India include:
- PCOD or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Endometrial Tuberculosis
- Tobacco Use
- Alcohol consumption
- Sexually transmitted diseases
India Not Prepared to Handle the Infertility Crisis
On top of India’s rising infertility problem, comes the latest Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) survey that says that a majority of government health centres are ill equipped to treat infertility.
The survey, published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine, paints a sad picture.
Of the 12 district hospitals (DHs), 24 community health centres (CHCs), 48 primary health centres (PHCs), and 48 sub-centres surveyed, 94 percent of PHCs and 79 percent of CHCs didn’t have semen examination services.
Advanced laboratory services were available in less than 42% of district hospitals and 8% of CHCs.
Down Goes the Sperm Quality
Stress, along with environmental and industrial pollution, is contributing to declining sperm quality in men, according to research presented at World Congress on Reproductive Health.
An All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) study found that while the sperm count of a normal Indian adult male used to be 60 million per ml around three decades ago, it now stands at around 20 million per ml.
While researchers world over are trying to establish the ‘why’ of the problem, doctors see a clear pattern. According to Mayo Clinic, severe or prolonged emotional stress, including stress about fertility, might interfere with hormones needed to produce sperm.
FIT Launches a #LetsTalkFertility Campaign
We at FIT have launched a #LetsTalkFertility campaign aimed at those who want to conceive in the future, those who are struggling to conceive, and those who are unable to conceive. The idea is to create a platform where your queries are raised, answered by experts and most credible information is passed on to the reader.
Write to us with your concerns, your queries and your stories. We’ll get top experts to answer them. Reach out to us at FIT@thequint.com, or by clicking here.