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Fertility in 31–40 yrs age group has fallen; main reasons include poor sperm count in men and polycystic ovarian disorder in women

Poor sperm count in men and polycystic ovarian disorder in women are the topmost factors causing infertility, say medical experts. A yearlong infertility survey carried out across nine Indian cities has revealed that a whopping 46 per cent of couples in the age group of 31–40 years – considered a fairly fertile stage of life – were seeking medical help after failing to conceive for more than two years.

Aimed at gauging the prevalence of infertility in the country, the survey covered 2,562 individuals in Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Agra and Kochi, and was endorsed by the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) and the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE). The survey also covered 100 infertility specialists to get the experts’ perspective.

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"Factors like increasing stress, toxicity in the environment, addictions like smoking and drinking, and promiscuity have largely contributed to bringing down fertility by affectingthespermcountinmen,"said InvitroFertilisationexpertDrHrishikesh Pai, president–elect of ISAR. "About 20 years ago, the normal sperm count was said to be above 40 million. Now the World Health Organization guidelines have brought down the normal sperm count to 15 million.Thisissimplybecauseallthe above factors have badly affected the sperm count in men and the normal range had to be brought down after much deliberation," explained Pai.

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Thestudyalsorevealedthatofthe infertile population, about 49 per centhavealreadyundergonefertility treatment while the remaining were deliberating its pros and cons. While poorspermcounttoppedthecauseof infertility in men, accounting for 41per cent of its prevalence, poor sperm motility was the second highest cause, with 35 per cent suffering fromit.Diabeteswasidentifiedasthe third factor with 24 per cent infertile because of it. In women, 40 per cent women suffered from infertility due to PCOD, 35 per cent due to blocked or damaged fallopian tubes and 15 per cent due to thyroidrelated problems.

According to an IVF expert based in South Mumbai, PCOD is mainly causedduetogeneticfactors."Obesity has also been termed a major risk factor for PCOD. However we have been successful in getting women to conceive, with early diagnosis and proper medication for PCOD," said the doctor, adding that PCOD is a condition in which ovulation is disturbed. The study also revealed that Mumbaikars were more progressive as compared with their northern counterparts.

About 54 per cent of the population surveyed in Mumbai believed that bearing children is God’s will and delayed treatment, as compared with 71 per cent in Delhi.

Times of India
21 Sep 2013

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