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4 urban lifestyle issues behind fertility woes among millenials

Published on:26 November 2021, 10:00am IST
Your daily habits can make a huge impact on your fertility! That’s why it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and prevent infertility.
Dr Reena Gupta
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fertility
Fertility problems are on the rise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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It truly is a noteworthy moment that women of this day and age are focused on their career aspirations and achieving goals. While getting married and starting a family of their own is in their list of aspirations, a lot of women tend to get to that part only much later in their lives. Today, women strive to be independent and make decisions on their own regarding marriage and family planning. It is up to them to decide when and how to start a family. But fertility is something they must keep in mind.

The woman of today can choose to start a family, once she feels accomplished and has achieved all her goals in life. But what many women are unaware about is the fact that their biological clock waits for none. There is such little awareness regarding the option of elective fertility preservation that it is the last thing of consideration in a woman’s life. It is the need of the hour for women to look after their reproductive health, just like they take care of their skin, hair, oral and physical health, and preserve fertility via proven and highly effective techniques like egg freezing.

The current state of women’s fertility

The latest 2016 Census report of India shows that the fertility rate among women has decreased by 21 percent in the last decade, which is alarming. If we compare the urban and the rural belt, the rural belt has a higher fertility rate of 82% whereas the urban population has a much lower fertility rate of 60%. It is also observed that the causes of infertility among women living in urban and rural areas differ.

Rural women face infertility issues due to various infections affecting their reproductive system, whereas for urban women, the reasons are largely their fast-paced lifestyles and late marriages.

The International Institute of Population Sciences had earlier revealed that infertility has affected 15-20 million Indians in the last couple of years.

Recent research now shows that about 40 percent of men in India who are above the age of 31 are suffering from infertility, which indicates that male infertility cases are also on an alarming rise in the country. Experts blame sedentary lifestyles, unhealthy eating habits, exposure to electromagnetic radiation and polluted environment for this increasing infertility rates in the past few years.

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, or are planning to conceive in the future, it is wise to identify the potential risk factors beforehand, and share it with the doctor right away. This step is important because the sooner one detects and addresses the problems that may interfere with fertility, the better the chances are of becoming a parent. In addition to this, making certain changes in one’s lifestyle, such as eating a healthy diet, staying physically active, maintaining a healthy weight, not indulging in bad habits, etc. can help prevent infertility.

fertility
Figure out if you’re to conceive! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Let’s see some major factors that affect one’s fertility:

Age

The age of our body plays a major role when it comes to fertility. Truth is, both men and women are at their most fertile in their early 20s. Health experts determine that female fertility declines sharply after the age of 35. And as men get older, the chances of conceiving and having a healthy child also decline — a man’s testosterone levels are likely to decrease, starting from about the age of 40. Make sure your partner is aware of this!

Weight

Being out of proportion, that is either overweight or underweight, can cause problems with conceiving. While it can get difficult to become pregnant if you are underweight, being obese can also lead to hormonal imbalances, which is a leading cause of infertility in both the genders.

impact of obesity on infertility in women
Excess weight can cause fertility issues in women. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Smoking and drinking

Smoking causes infertility both in males and females. Studies suggest that women who smoke regularly take longer to conceive. Smoking can affect egg quality, increases the chances of miscarriage and can lead to problems during pregnancy. Similarly, men who smoke hold an increased risk of developing problems with fertility. Studies have linked smoking with a decreased sperm count, decreased sperm motility and poor sperm morphology. Heavy drinking in men may affect sperm quality and can contribute to erectile dysfunction, so make sure to warn your partner!

Stress

You already know that stress can lead to a number of health problems, such as heart disease, asthma, obesity, and depression. Stress also interferes with conception. It can reduce your partner’s sperm and semen quality, which could have implications for male fertility. Chronic stress can affect ovulation in some women, experts say.

That’s because stress can affect the functioning of the hypothalamus, the centre of the brain that regulates some of the hormones that trigger the ovaries to release eggs each month.

Now that you know why, watch your habit to prevent infertility.

Dr Reena Gupta Dr Reena Gupta

Dr Reena Gupta, Fertility Consultant, Nova Southend Fertility & IVF, New Delhi