Infertility is an increasingly common condition in which a couple cannot conceive by natural means after trying for more than one year (6 months for women 35 years or older). Infertility can also occur in women who have given birth previously, and this is called secondary infertility. Infertility causes significant emotional distress to a couple and is a major cause of concern.
What are the causes of Infertility in women and men?
In certain societies, the woman is usually held responsible for failure to conceive a baby. However, the cause can lie with the male partner too.
Causes of infertility in men include:
- Abnormal sperms
- Low count of healthy sperms
- Decreased motility of sperms
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Premature ejaculation
- Swelling of the veins in the testicles
- Genetic defects
- Defects of tubules that transport sperm
Factors giving rise to fertility issues in women include:
- Age of 35 years or older
- Ovulation disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome and primary ovarian insufficiency
- Tubal blockage
- Pelvic inflammatory infections
- Uterine fibroids
- Endometrial polyps and Endometriosis
- Abnormalities in cervical shape
- Surgeries related to ectopic pregnancy
What are the commonly available treatments for infertility?
Infertility treatments known in our country today have increased pregnancy rates by 60%. These include:
- Medications like oral contraceptives, clomiphene citrate, gonadotropin-releasing hormone and metformin to induce egg development and ovulation
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
- In Vitro (outside the body) Fertilization of egg and sperm
- Third party reproduction or surrogacy (donation of the womb)
- Surgery (removal of uterine fibroids or ovarian cysts).
Natural treatments to increase fertility
In addition to conventional treatment, certain natural ways can help in boosting one’s fertility and increase the chances of conceiving. Some of the recommended natural methods are as follows:
- Eating a healthy diet (proteins, vitamins/ natural herbs like red raspberry leaf, nettle leaf; chaste tree berry) and drink plenty of water. However, do not take any of these herbs in combination with fertility or hormonal treatments; or consult your doctor first to check if it is safe to do so.
- Regular exercise like yoga and jogging
- Healthy body weight
- Better sleep patterns (at least 8 hours of sleep at night)
- Stress avoidance
- Tracking ovulation (8-19 days after menses) for intercourse using a calendar, ovulation kit or mobile apps
- Using essential oils of sandalwood and chamomile
Most fertility issues in today’s era are due to the unhealthy lifestyles like eating junk food and sedentary habits in both men and women. With other infertility treatments, reducing stress and following a good lifestyle can surely play a major role in conceiving and delivering a healthy baby.