Fertility isn’t really something that’s spoken about very openly. In fact, there’s usually an air of uneasiness or discomfort surrounding such discussions. It’s no wonder then that there are tons of preconceived notions that people have, most of which hold no real value. As it can be pretty damn hard, to tell the truth from those old wives’ tales, we got a leading fertility expert, Dr. Kamini Rao, to tell us everything we should know about female fertility and pregnancy.
Rising Infertility: Just A Woman’s Problem?
“In our country and worldwide, there’s been a massive spike in the number of people struggling with infertility; it’s crucial to realize that this is a couple’s problem, not just the woman’s”
There’s no doubt that infertility is a growing problem across the world. Dr Rao believes that the two main factors that have contributed to this rise are the lifestyle changes we’ve witnessed over the past couple of years, and social factors like delaying pregnancy.
She, however, emphasizes that infertility is not merely a woman’s problem. In fact, factors like alcohol consumption and stress can significantly deteriorate the quality of semen. Even environmental factors like the skyrocketing pollution levels have a direct impact on sperm count and exacerbate the problem. In light of this, as Dr. Rao stresses that the solution to the problem lies in fact-finding, not fault-finding.
PCOS & Pregnancy
“Women with PCOS or even those who experience irregular menstrual cycles can get pregnant naturally & successfully”
Another widely prevalent myth associated with female infertility that Dr. Rao wants to debunk is that a diagnosis of PCOS, one of the most common endocrinal disorders in women of reproductive age, almost always translates into infertility. She elaborates that most women with PCOS turn to drugs and medications, when in fact, their first line of treatment should be lifestyle modifications. She also clearly states that although there isn’t a ‘cure’, with proper management, including adequate exercise and the right kind of diet, PCOS does not have to lead to infertility.
The Importance Of Vaginal Health
“Most women underestimate the importance of their vaginal health in increasing their chances of successful conception”
For instance, Dr Rao points out how most women remain hush-hush about something as common and basic as vaginal discharge when in fact abnormal vaginal discharge is linked with infertility. She highlights how patent tubes and potent men are not the only two solutions to ensure easy conception. A factor often overlooked is mobility within the tubes, which vaginal discharge can hinder. She also suggests how a simple laparoscopy can be helpful in determining the mobility and clearing any adhesions, paving the way to successful conception.
Choices To Secure Reproductive Health
“Dr. Rao points out how most women do not realize that their decision to defer pregnancy comes with its own set of problems”
With an increasing number of women giving preference to their career goals and financial independence, Dr Rao focuses on how there has been a major shift in the age of pregnancy. Here, she emphasizes that women need to opt for regular check-ups to assess their hormonal levels and reproductive health.
She also brings attention to other options that are available to women to secure their reproductive health, such as social egg freezing and embryo freezing. She highlights the importance of spreading awareness about these options, so women can make informed decision to have the professional careers they want, without compromising on their desire for motherhood.
Dr Rao does concede that as compared to the past, there is increased awareness about these issues, making it easier for couples to seek help today. However, there’s still a long way to go when it comes to understanding the science of fertility and how it’s always evolving. If you really wish to have a kid of your own some day, you need to increase your awareness, so that you can make informed decisions that are best for not just your reproductive health, but for life in general.