An article of Indian Journal of Medical Research mentioned …

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 60 to 80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility. Infertility varies across regions of the world and is estimated to affect 8 - 12 % of couples worldwide. Underlying these numbers exists a core group of couples, estimated to be 3 - 5 %, who are infertile due to unknown or unpreventable conditions. A prevalence of infertility above this level suggests preventable or treatable causes.

Total infertility is divided into primary and secondary infertility. Definitions of primary infertility vary between studies, but the operational definition, put forth by the WHO, defines primary infertility as the “Inability to conceive within two years of exposure to pregnancy (i.e.- sexually active, non-contracepting, and non-lactating) among women 15 to 49 yr. old”. Secondary infertility refers to the inability to conceive following a previous pregnancy. Globally, most infertile couples suffer from primary infertility.

Among Indian women reporting primary infertility and PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), STI (Sexually transmitted infections) prevalence was high. The WHO estimates the overall prevalence of primary infertility in India to be between 3.9 -16.8 %. Estimates of infertility vary widely among Indian states from 3.7% in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra, to 5 % in Andhra Pradesh, and 15 % in Kashmir. Moreover, the prevalence of primary infertility has also been shown to vary across tribes and castes within the same region in India.¹

Urban incidences of infertility are on the rise. In fact, every year, the number of infertile couples is increasing. This is primarily due to – stress, lack of sleep, bad diet, alcoholism, smoking, use of recreational drugs, late marriages, deferment of childbearing due to career aspirations or even expectation of financial stability ‘a few years later’ (easing of EMI burden) and cases of medical challenges (PCOS etc.) to conceive etc.

Due to social stigma, infertility ‘blame’ is more often thrusted on women; however, medical science deals with male infertility in as high as 40% cases. Similar to women, stress – lifestyle and environmental factors impact male fertility adversely. For example, lack of sleep, bad diet, alcoholism, smoking, use of recreational drugs, body building supplements; are known to reduce the sperm count / defect, chemical pollution distorting the hormonal system and creating reproductive birth-defects in male child (hypospadias) etc.²

Finally, diseases like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure etc impacts fertility of both men and women.

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