The inability to conceive even after trying for a year without any form of contraception is called infertility. About 10-15% of couples in India have been found to be infertile. Whenever a couple is unable to have a child after marriage, then the tendency to blame the woman for that is found at large in society.
Due to the practice of considering maternity, child-rearing as the responsibility of the mother, the tradition of considering the woman responsible for infertility has been going on since ancient times. On this, Dr. Kshitij Muradiya, CEO and Co-Founder, Indira IVF gave much useful information about the misconceptions related to female infertility.
When a woman is not getting pregnant, her body is surrounded by a witch or she has committed some sin… Many such wrong things are said and spread. Due to a lack of scientific knowledge, people turn to traditional and spiritual remedies and try to get relief by doing something or the other.
In early 2021, a horrific case of female infertility treatment made headlines. In the state of North India, a 33-year-old woman was beaten to death by a man who performed magic to expel the evil spirit, stating that the reason for the infertility of a 33-year-old woman had entered her body. . Such an incident has come to fore another state of India, where women who are unable to bear children are treated by priests who chant mantras on their backs.
This baseless, unsubstantiated blame on women is one of the biggest myths that exists to this day. It has been proved by medical tests that the cause of infertility can lie in the body of both men and women. Research has also helped to find out most of the causes.
In men, the quality and quantity of sperm can be affected due to diseases like diabetes and infections (syphilis, chlamydia). Polycystic ovary syndrome/disease, endometriosis, diabetes and inadequate thyroid levels can cause many such problems in women. Hormonal imbalances, improper reproductive organs and genetic defects can occur in both men and women. Therefore, problems infertility in men can also lead to the inability of a couple to have a child, vice versa. This also means that in a male and female couple, a defective reproductive system of either of them can lead to infertility.
Today many women are coming forward to talk about their experiences. This information is slowly reaching more and more people. It is worth mentioning that celebrities like Farah Khan, Diana Hayden, Mona Singh have come forward to give courage to women who are still suffering from pain from within, on the basis of scientifically proven information, to remove their burden. Stories like these have helped provide the emotional foundation to many aspiring women like them. This has encouraged them in their work as well as dealing with the problem of not having children.
But this situation should not be limited to only empowered women helping other women to become empowered. We cannot forget at all that women are at the centre of this change because they have to bear the brunt of discrimination. To remove stigma, stigma should start from the lowest level. It is necessary to eradicate the long-standing thinking of parents, husband, in-laws, siblings, other relatives, colleagues, employers and many others. For this, information can be disseminated by organizing community awareness camps, using other channels like radio, TV, newspapers and even digital media. Celebrities, both men and women, can play an important role in this.
Initiatives such as ‘HeForShe’ launched by the United Nations have promoted gender equality, calling on people of all genders to show solidarity with women and bring about change. We started our organization in the 1970s with the aim of solving the problem of male infertility. That was a period when this topic was not even discussed and the blame of infertility was put only on women. Indira IVF has been playing an important role in spreading awareness and information. It is working as an integral part of the government’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign. Many programs and camps are also organized in different states to reduce the imbalanced sex ratio.
According to Dr. Kshitij Murdia, in my medical life, I have to face many misconceptions related to infertility in women. The truth of such misconceptions should be exposed to everyone. Contrary to popular belief, prolonged use of birth control pills does not affect fertility. Women can get pregnant even after the age of 35, but after that the fertility starts decreasing.
Research has also found that with age, fertility decreases in men as well. How often intercourse is done does not matter as long as intercourse is not done at the time of ovulation. Often, infertility occurs in some couples after the birth of a child. This is called secondary infertility. It is also often suggested that the general health of the woman doesn’t matter, but the fact is that a healthy lifestyle, along with or without external treatments, helps in improving fertility.
Women from all over the world have played an important role in bringing positive change in society by making enormous progress. But it is not enough to have just one stakeholder in efforts to end the stigma and stigma associated with infertility. The whole society should be involved in this. There is a need to help those who have been discriminated against for a long time by uprooting the deeply rooted misconceptions.