How to know if you are IN­FER­TILE?

Woman's Era - - Short Story - Dr. Deepti Gupta IVF Spe­cial­ist MS - Ob­stet­rics & Gy­nae­col­ogy Gy­ne­col­o­gist, Ob­ste­tri­cian, 12 Years Ex­pe­ri­ence

F am­ily is in­com­plete with­out chil­dren. In­fer­til­ity is one of the ma­jor causes of anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion in the mar­ried cou­ples and is of­ten the cause of mar­i­tal dis­cord.

In­fer­til­ity is de­fined as in­abil­ity to con­ceive af­ter hav­ing one year of un­pro­tected reg­u­lar in­ter­course. Male and fe­male, both con­trib­ute to in­fer­til­ity. So be­fore you seek the ad­vise of a doc­tor, you must ex­am­ine your­self for cer­tain signs and symp­toms. These pre­emp­tive signs and symp­toms must not be over­looked be­fore your visit to the doc­tor be­comes too late. Ap­prox­i­mately, 10% of the In­dian cou­ples suf­fer from var­i­ous forms of in­fer­til­ity. Con­tri­bu­tion of both, males and fe­males to in­fer­til­ity in the so­ci­ety is equal. There is an ex­po­nen­tial in­crease in the num­ber of cases com­ing to in­fer­til­ity clin­ics over last cou­ple of decades. Usu­ally med­i­cal ad­vise is the last re­sort in the In­dian so­ci­ety af­ter lots of home ad­vice be­ing fol­lowed over many years, mak­ing the cases more com­pli­cated and re­sis­tant to treat.


Age: Ev­ery fe­male is born with fixed num­ber of eggs. Your chances of get­ting preg­nancy de­creases with in­creas­ing age. As the age ad­vances, ev­ery month one egg is lost from ei­ther of the ovary (there are two ovaries in ev­ery fe­male. An ovary is the bank where eggs for fu­ture fer­til­iza­tion are stored). Af­ter the age of 30, women’s chances of get­ting preg­nant de­creases by 3-5% with steep re­duc­tion in fer­til­ity af­ter age of 40.

Men­strual prob­lems: Any ab­nor­mal­ity in men­strual cy­cle is alarm­ing. One should main­tain the men­strual cal­en­dar doc­u­ment­ing the length and du­ra­tion of cy­cle, flow, pain clots and other al­lied reg­u­lar fea­tures. Any de­vi­a­tion from the known pat­tern should be recorded and brought to the no­tice of your gy­ne­col­o­gist es­pe­cially when one is sex­u­ally ac­tive. Nor­mal men­strual cy­cle is of 21-35 days last­ing for 3-7 days with mod­er­ate flow with no clots/pain. Sud­den change in known pat­tern is alarm­ing and can lead to dif­fi­cul­ties in get­ting preg­nant. In that case, one should seek the ad­vice of the doc­tor im­me­di­ately.

In­fec­tion: Some in­fec­tions in the gen­i­tal tract can lead to in­fer­til­ity. In­fec­tion can lead to block­age of tubes, de­crease in ovar­ian re­serve and swelling in the uterus caus­ing nar­row­ing of the uter­ine cav­ity and also mak­ing en­vi­ron­ment for sperm to fer­til­ize the des­tined egg hos­tile. Most com­mon in­fec­tions are fun­gal in­fec­tions in vagina and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis of gen­i­tal tract. If you are sex­u­ally ac­tive then the treat­ment of hus­band should also be done si­mul­ta­ne­ously. Ev­ery time you have an in­fec­tion like white dis­charge, fowl smell, get it prop­erly treated by the doc­tor be­fore the ad­verse ef­fects set it.

Sud­den in­crease in weight: If you no­tice that you have put on weight over few months de­spite nor­mal diet and reg­u­lar ex­er­cise or you no­tice hair growth in the un­wanted sites like chin or sud­den in­crease in hair fall, these in­di­cate hor­monal im­bal­ance thereby in­creas­ing male hor­mones in your body or un­der­ly­ing un­treated thy­roid dis­or­der. These all can lead to in­fer­til­ity. They are eas­ily cur­able con­di­tions if the treat­ment is com­menced early.

Life­style: Life­style has very im­por­tant role in con­ceiv­ing. In­take of al­co­hol, cig­a­rettes, or any form of drugs can lead to in­fer­til­ity. In­take of ex­ces­sive junk food, ir­reg­u­lar meals, lack of ex­er­cise all con­trib­ute to hor­monal im­bal­ance and in­fer­til­ity. Any form of phys­i­cal and men­tal stress is alarm­ing and can lead to in­fer­til­ity. Stress is a vi­cious cir­cle, stress, hor­monal im­bal­ance, In­fer­til­ity, Stress. One can re­sort to med­i­ta­tion and break this cir­cle. Re­mem­ber, there is no sub­sti­tute/short cut to healthy life­style.

Med­i­cal dis­or­ders: Med­i­cal con­di­tions like di­a­betes, hy­per­ten­sion, thy­roid dis­or­ders, ane­mia, worms in body, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis or any pre­vi­ous sur­gi­cal in­ter­ven­tion in gen­i­tal area can hin­der con­cep­tion or can pose threat to the ex­ist­ing preg­nancy. They must be ad­dressed ap­pro­pri­ately by the treat­ing doc­tor.


Erec­tile dys­func­tion: Erec­tile dys­func­tion i.e. in­ad­e­quate tumes­cence in the pe­nis suf­fi­cient enough to cause pen­e­tra­tion of the or­gan in the vagina is very com­mon. It may be due to psy­cho­log­i­cal causes like stress, anx­i­ety, de­pres­sion or some med­i­cal dis­or­ders like di­a­betes, epilepsy, heart dis­ease or some medicines also cause erec­tile dys­func­tion. They need to be prop­erly ad­dressed.

In­fec­tions: Var­i­ous in­fec­tions like tu­ber­cu­lo­sis, syphilis and other sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted dis­eases can lead to low sperm count. Ap­pro­pri­ate medicines in ap­pro­pri­ate doses can in­crease the sperm count and qual­ity.

Life­style: Un­healthy life style can lead to low sperm count: Causes are a. Diet lack­ing in es­sen­tial min­er­als and vi­ta­mins b. Wear­ing of tight un­der gar­ments c. In­take of steroids for mus­cle build­ing d. Ex­cess of al­co­hol and smok­ing e. Lack of ex­er­cise

These life­style habits can lead to de­crease in sperm count or no sperms in se­men. So a cou­ple can dis­cuss among them­selves and do some mod­i­fi­ca­tions in there life­style to in­crease there fer­til­ity. If the prob­lem still per­sists, you can seek the ad­vice of your doc­tor.

Dr Deepti Gupta, is a prac­tic­ing Gy­ne­col­o­gist and se­nior IVF con­sul­tant in Ro­hini, New Delhi. She has treated thou­sands of cou­ples with in­fer­til­ity with suc­cess­ful out­come.

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