Dr. Richa Jagtap, Clinical Director and Consultant Reproductive Medicine, NOVA IVF Fertility, Mumbai cites some current trends, “Couples delay pregnancy in favor of their education, career choices, even social commitments. We do know that a woman’s fertility is age-related and finite. Even when it comes to males, sperm quality goes down with age. The best chances for conception are in age groups below 35 years.”
Apart from this, with advancing age, the chances of diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and related diseases increase and result in infertility. Other factors like endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, sexual dysfunction, hormonal disorder, pollution, irregular menstruation, pelvic infection, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can also lead to infertility in women.
Extreme stress in men and women can take a toll on their fertility. It impacts ovulation in women and affects sperm production and testosterone levels in men. Unhealthy habits such as smoking, illicit drug use, and alcohol abuse to overcome stress affect the fertility of both men and women. The harmful toxins can damage reproductive organs, impact the production of sperm count and quality in men and hamper the egg quality of women. Heavy alcohol consumption leads to hormonal imbalance in women and damages the quality of sperm in men. A sedentary lifestyle involving constant sitting, lack of physical activity, and regular consumption of junk, processed and canned foods leads to obesity in men and women, ultimately raising the chances of infertility.
Healthy habits for couples trying to conceive
Exercise daily: Regular exercise can help both men and women to stay fit and keep various health conditions such as obesity, hypertension at bay. So, try to exercise at least for half an hour daily. Do yoga and meditation to de-stress and relax. Excessive high-intensity exercise can have the opposite effect on one’s fertility. Exercising too much may negatively affect the reproductive system. So, do not go overboard while working out. You can also work out under the guidance of an expert.
Maintain an optimum weight: You need to watch your weight to conceive without trouble. Being overweight and even underweight can impact one’s fertility.
Eat a well-balanced diet: You will have to pay attention to what you eat. Foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains are loaded with antioxidants like vitamins C and E, folate, beta-carotene, and lutein tend to fight free radicals in the body that are responsible for damaging both sperm and egg cells. Having citrus foods, seeds, nuts, beans, and lentils can boost fertility. Try to avoid processed, junk, and canned food. Say No to refine carbohydrates, saturated and trans-fat food items. Bid adieu to colas, sodas, and sweets that can make you gain weight and invite infertility. Take your vitamins and supplements as suggested by the doctor. Talk to the doctor before taking folic acid. Avoid smoking, drug use, and alcohol that can damage the reproductive system.
Get your medical conditions under control: Women, if you have diabetes, thyroid problem, PCOS, endometriosis, or any other issues then seek immediate medical attention. Men also need to get their sexual health evaluated from time to time.
Learn your fertility potential
Dr Jagtap adds, “The most important is to know about your fertility potential by doing simple checks like AMH and Semen analysis. Fertility won’t wait till you have achieved all your goals in life, but it can be approached along with the perusal of a good career path and social aspects of life. We lead a multi-dimensional life; one dimension has to be fertility planning.”
For those women who have yet not found their partners, aspects of fertility preservation are very pertinent and should be addressed before they cross the threshold of their mid-thirties.
Fertility specialist Dr. Guari Aggarwal, director and founder of Seeds of Innocence and Genestrings, sister company of Yashoda hospital shares, “It is worth noting that the fertility rate among urban women in India at 1.6 is lower than the national average. Hence, breaking the taboo of talking about infertility and raising awareness about infertility and its reasons is a responsibility to be burdened equally on Specialist Doctors and receiving patients.”
The best is to remember “Time and Fertility waits for no one.”