How Common is Infertility?

Infertility has an adverse social impact on the lives of couples who have been unable to conceive and in particular women, who might go through low self-esteem, social stigma, emotional stress, depression, anxiety and in some cases divorce. 

Infertility is more common than most people think, and it can even mean getting pregnant but having stillbirths or miscarriages. Recent studies show that after a year of having unprotected sex, 15 percent of couples are unable to conceive a child. And, after two years, 10 percent of couples will still not have achieved a successful pregnancy, that’s quite different than it was a few decades ago. Today, as many as one in 7 couples trying to have a baby will experience infertility

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The reasons behind a rise in infertility are varied. Some are related to changes in our society, some would be the lifestyle choices. 20 or 30 years ago, most women had their first child at about 21. Currently, that age is closer to 26 or 27. Many couples are waiting longer to start their families, they may want to finish their education first, or get established in their careers. Frequency in remarriages and divorces have also gone up which pushes the pregnancy plan further away.

There is a risk of exposure to environmental toxins and sexually transmitted diseases when couples postpone the plan to start a family. Age plays a big role, too. For couples who are under 30 and generally healthy, 20 to 37 percent can conceive in the first three months of trying. After age 30, a woman’s chances of getting pregnant start dropping quickly with each year. If one of the 2 partners have crossed a certain age and are older then too the more likely they are to have health problems, and to get treated for them which may cause delays.

According to the World Health Organization estimate the overall prevalence of primary infertility in India is between 3.9 to 16.8%. In Indian states prevalence of infertility varies from state to state such as 3.7 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Maharashtra, to 5 per cent in Andhra Pradesh, and 15 per cent in Kashmir, also prevalence varies in the same region across tribes and caste.

In today’s modern society, the problem of infertility is based on lifestyle changes resulting in stress and obesity caused by lack of physical exercise, changes in eating habits and pollution accompanied by medical disorders like diabetes. Research suggests there has been a 20-30 per cent rise in the last five years in India. It is no longer an urban phenomenon, nor is it confined to women, it has impacted men too, started surfacing in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities too

The World Population Prospects: The 2019 Revision estimated that the fertility rate of Indians (the number of children born to a woman) plunged by more than 50 percent. The crude birth rate has gone down from 36.7 births per thousand population during 1975-80 to 18.9 during 2015-20. The report projects that the rate will fall to 18 by 2025-30, drop further to 12.1 by 2045-50 and 9.3 by 2095-2100. 

The Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction says as many as 27.5 million couples—about one in six couples—in urban India are impacted by infertility. 

About 45 percent of couples face infertility problems as it is not only limited to women, and men also face common problems such as low sperm count, morphology abnormalities and low motility of sperm.

A lot of couples prefer having children much later in life, one in 4 couples in developing countries are affected by infertility, and about 48.5 million couples experience infertility worldwide. Some researchers would go as far as to say that it is starting to look like an epidemic, which is making infertility treatments more popular as more and more couples are looking at different options to start a family.

The use of ART or assisted reproductive technology is increasing by 5% to 10% per year. According to the United Nations in 1950 there was an average of 5 children per woman worldwide, in 2020 it has shrunk to an average of 2 children per woman worldwide.

Infertility is expected to increase in the future. By 2025, almost 10 million couples will encounter problems in having a baby. The difficulties which are involved with it like miscarriages, can negatively impact a person or couples overall mental, physical health and quality of life. They also experience psychological and other personal issues which affect their life. The best source for answers to your confusion and dilemma is a professional infertility doctor or a specialist.