About 46% of Indians in the age group of 31 to 40 years seeking medical help for conceiving a child were found to be infertile, meaning they were unable to conceive even after two years of trying for a child, according to a survey conducted across nine cities including 2,562 patients.
The survey ‘Helping families’ endorsed by the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) was conducted by a pharmaceutical company among patients and doctors. The parallel survey conducted among 100 infertility specialist found that 63% of those found to be infertile were in the age group of 31-40 years.
Doctors said that lifestyle changes, stress and delayed marriages has resulted in an increase in incidence of infertility. “Of all infertile patients at least 20% will need to undergo assisted Reproduction technology (ART) treatment. Others can be treated with routine procedures,” said Dr Hrishikesh Pai, president elect, ISAR 2014 and scientific director – Advanced Infertility centre, Lilavati Hospital.
In fact the survey found that 34% patients in the age of 21 to 30 years were infertile and too were seeking treatment.
Despite a high incidence of infertility among couples seeking medical treatment, doctors said an estimated 5 to 10% people in the general community suffer from infertility. However the incidence could rise given the drop in fertility rates by 17% between 2000 and 2011.
The survey was conducted across Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Agra and Kochi. The study revealed that Mumbaites are comparatively more progressive than their northern counterparts when it came to seeking medical help for childlessness.
About 54% of the population studied in Mumbai still believed bearing children is God’s will and delay treatment as compared to a whopping 71% of the population studied in Delhi, which still believes bearing children is God’s will and hence delayed treatment.
Doctors found that poor sperm count is a major problem among men due to the increasing stress, toxicity in the environment, smoking. Stigma and trauma associated with infertility is extreme making access to treatment difficult, said doctors.