Even though male infertility is on the rise with close to 50 percent men experiencing some sort of reproductive dysfunction, childlessness is usually blamed on the woman in India, said a group of doctors and Bollywood actress Lara Dutta during the launch of infertility clinic, Manipal Fertility, that caters to both men and women on Thursday in Bengaluru.
With erratic lifestyles and increasing stress levels in terms of work, India may face crisis in terms of working population. The expectation that India's population will boom in the coming years may actually be misplaced, according to data from Sample Registration Survey on the total fertility rate. While rural fertility rate has fallen to 2.5 from 5.4 in 1971, urban fertility was less than 2 in 2010.
"I am lucky to have reproduced naturally, but stress and the environment affects reproduction. It is no longer a stigma and should be treated like a normal medical condition. The onus of not being able to reproduce usually falls on a woman, but progressive men today are taking their health into control," said Lara Dutta.
Infertility has off late become a reality in India with the increase in stress. There are four times more infertility patients in India than the US, said Dr Vasan S S, Chairman of Manipal Fertility. "High stress levels, lack of physical exercise, and environmental pollution" affect fertility in today's times.
Speaking about how infertility is not a stigma, but only a dysfunction, he said that modern medicine has become personalised and it has become easier to detect in early stages. Sexual problems are also symptomatic of vascular diseases, he added.
The hospital's CEO, Dr Ajay Bakshi further iterated that infertility it is just another problem, with a cure. He went on to say that there was a time when cancer and depression were stigmatised, but more and more people are talking about it now, and it is the same with infertility. Family members shouldn't accuse each other for a medical condition, he added.
"At least 46 percent of the couples who came to infertility clinics were in the prime reproductive age group of 31 to 40. Among those, 49 percent had already gone through IVF," said Dr (Capt) Sandeep Sharma, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Manipal Fertility.
The hospital has also conducted awareness campaigns through TV, radio, and print and will soon be looking to use digital space to dispel misconceptions about infertility. The campaigns are directed not only towards patients, but also towards in-laws, parents and peer groups to be more supportive and not accusatory towards the couple.