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25% city couples infertile
India Created: 17 Aug 2009
KOLKATA: For city couples planning to start a family, here's some bad news. The 2008-09 study of the Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (Fogsi) says that about 20-25% of the city's married couples are infertile.

In other words, if you haven't conceived even after trying for two years or more, it's time to immediately visit a gynaecologist. Preferably, the doctor should be one who specialises in infertility treatment as well. Chances are that you are suffering from infertility and will conceive only through clinical help.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) recently conducted a nationwide study on infertility and places the percentage at 15-18. However, city gynaecologists say this was relevant about five years ago. Thereafter, the situation has turned even more grave. It's another matter that as there is heightened awareness about infertility now,

a large number of couples are seeking medical attention, which explains the high percentage.

The situation is alarming, city gynaecs sum up and blame it on the paradigm shift that society and life in general have undergone over the past decade. "Ten years ago, not more than 10% couples were diagnosed with infertility. Today, at least 50% patients who come to gynaecologists for consultation are suffering from infertility-related problems. The 2008-09 Fogsi study is based on a study of all married couples who consulted gynaecs over the year. The study, which concluded in March, arrived at a figure of 20-25%," said V K Poddar, Fogsi's chairman of reproductive endocrinology.

Contrary to popular belief that a woman is infertile if she fails to conceive, doctors say there has been a sharp rise in male infertility. Baidyanath Chakraborty, one of the most respected names in the country today in treating infertility, says, "In at least 40% cases, it is the husband/male partner who is infertile. We are studying the reasons behind this sizeable rise in male infertility percentage. We have come to the conclusion that 70% infertile men suffer from erectile dysfunction while 20% have ejaculatory dysfunction. The remaining 10% suffer from psychological reasons." In 35% cases, it is the woman who is infertile and needs attention, while in the remaining cases both the male and female partners have problems.

"I would say that modern lifestyle is not conducive to a couple conceiving naturally. Gorging on junk food, smoking, drinking indiscriminate and unmanageable stress are leading to conditions like polycystic ovaries, ovulation disorder and related hormonal imbalance," said gynaecologist Sanjib Mukherjee, who was also the president of the Bengal chapter of Fogsi till recently.

Some doctors like to blame the rising air and water pollution for the growing male infertility.

"The fact that a large number of men are unable to impregnate women is because of poor quality sperm or low sperm count. Excessive chlorine and arsenic in potable water, smoking and breathing in air that is as bad as smoking 40 cigarettes a day affect sperm quality," said Sajal Dutta, president of the Bengal chapter of Fogsi.

Doctors say the stress levels of women are so high today that they miss their periods for months and it is also seen that they lose the capability to ovulate every month.
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Source: Times of India, Jhimli Mukherjee Pandey, 13 Aug 2009

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