Infertility in men and women:

What is Infertility?

Most people will have the strong desire to conceive a child at some point during their lifetime. Understanding what defines normal fertility is crucial to helping a person, or couple, know when it is time to seek help.

If you and your partner are struggling to have a baby, you’re not alone. 10 to 15 percent of couples in the World are infertile. Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most couples.

It may be that one partner cannot contribute to conception, or that a woman is unable to carry a pregnancy to full term. It is often defined as not conceiving after 12 months of regular sexual intercourse without the use of birth control.

“Infertility happens when a couple cannot conceive after having regular unprotected sex.”

Women who do not have regular menstrual cycles, or are older than 35 years and have not conceived during a 6-month period of trying, should consider making an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist – an infertility specialist. These doctors may also be able to help women with recurrent pregnancy loss – 2 or more spontaneous miscarriages.

Infertility may result from an issue with either you or your partner or a combination of factors that interfere with pregnancy. Fortunately, there are many safe and effective therapies that significantly improve your chances of getting pregnant.

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    Is infertility a common problem?

    The answer is Yes. About 6% of married women 15-44 years of age in the World are unable to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex (infertility).

    Also, about 12% of women 15-44 years of age in the World have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, regardless of marital status (impaired fecundity).

    Is infertility just a woman’s problem?

    No, infertility is not always a woman’s problem. Both men and women can contribute to infertility.

    Many couples struggle with infertility and seek help to become pregnant, but it is often thought of as only a woman’s condition. However, in about 35% of couples with infertility, a male factor is identified along with a female factor. In about 8% of couples with infertility, a male factor is the only identifiable cause.


    The main symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant. There may be no other obvious symptoms. Sometimes, an infertile woman may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. Rarely, an infertile man may have some signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.

    What causes infertility in men?

    Semen and sperm:

    Infertility in men can be caused by different factors and is typically evaluated by a semen analysis. A specialist will evaluate the number of sperm (concentration), motility (movement), and morphology (shape).

    A slightly abnormal semen analysis does not mean that a man is necessarily infertile. Instead, a semen analysis helps determine if and how malefactors are contributing to infertility.

    The following problems are possible:

    • Low sperm count: The man ejaculates less number of sperm. A sperm count of under 15 million is considered low. Around one-third of couples have difficulty conceiving due to a low sperm count.
    • Low sperm mobility (motility): The sperm cannot “swim” as well as they should to reach the egg.
    • Abnormal sperm: The sperm may have an unusual shape, making it harder to move and fertilize an egg.
    • Medical conditions or exposures such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, trauma, infection, testicular failure, or treatment with chemotherapy or radiation.
    • Unhealthy habits such as heavy alcohol use, testosterone supplementation, smoking, anabolic steroid use, and illicit drug use.
    • Environmental toxins including exposure to pesticides and lead.

    What causes infertility in women?

    Most cases of female infertility are caused by problems with ovulation. Without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include irregular or absent menstrual periods.

    Women need functioning ovaries, fallopian tubes, and a uterus to get pregnant. Conditions affecting any one of these organs can contribute to female infertility. Some of these conditions are listed below and can be evaluated using a number of different tests.

    Less common causes of fertility problems in women include:

    • Blocked fallopian tubes due to pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, or surgery for an ectopic pregnancy
    • Physical problems with the uterus
    • Uterine fibroids, which are non-cancerous clumps of tissue and muscle on the walls of the uterus.

    Risk factors:

    • Age: The ability to conceive starts to fall around the age of 32 years.
    • Eating disorders: If an eating disorder leads to serious weight loss, fertility problems may arise.
    • Smoking: Smoking significantly increases the risk of infertility in both men and women, and it may undermine the effects of fertility treatment. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of pregnancy loss.
    • Alcohol: Any amount of alcohol consumption can affect the chances of conceiving.
    • Being obese or overweight: This can increase the risk of infertility in women as well as men.
    • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs): Chlamydia can damage the fallopian tubes in a woman and cause inflammation in a man’s scrotum. Some other STIs may also cause infertility.

    Ayurveda & Infertility

    Agnideepana and Ama Pachan –with the use of Ayurvedic digestive and carminative herbs Agni (digestive fire) is corrected and Ama (toxins inside the body) is eliminated that leads to the formation of healthy Ojas (nutrition).

    Shodhana– Detoxification therapy that expels out the Doshas from the body during the uterine problems. This includes Vaman (Emesis), Virechan (Purgation), Vasti (Medicated enemas).

    Some herbs like Amalaki (Emblica Officinalis), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) are extremely useful to balance the female hormones FSH, and LH.

    Ayurveda approach to boost fertility in women?

    According to Ayurveda, infertility arises when ‘shukra dhatu’, which produces eggs in women and sperms in men, is weak due to lack of proper nutrition. This could be due to poor digestion or an absence of a balanced diet or due to the presence of ‘ama’ or toxins in the body.

    According to Ayurveda, sexual indulgence and promiscuity can also cause infertility due to the decrease in ‘shukra dhatu’.

    Ayurvedic fertility enhancers for women:

    • Ashoka – It stimulates the endometrium found in the uterus and ovaries and aids in ovulation.
    • Lodhra – It cures all female disorders that stop conception and regulates levels of reproductive hormones like FSH and LH, which are essential for conception.
    • Shatavari – It nourishes the ovum or egg and enhances fertility as it contains estrogen-like compounds.
    • Gokshura – This herb is helpful for both men and women. It works as a fertility tonic in women by stimulating the ovaries and thus cures PCOS, a leading cause of female infertility.

    Ayurveda approach to boost fertility in men?

    Overcoming male infertility requires some basic modulation in lifestyle and food habits.

    The treatment includes Shodhan Chikitsa i.e. cleansing therapy depending upon dominancy of deranged doshas. Vaman in Kapha Dushti, Virechan in Pitta Dushti and Basti in case of Vata dushti.

    Panchakarma therapies like Abhyanga (whole body massage), Shirodhara, Nasya endows a great deal of physical and mental relaxation.

    Regular exercise and yoga promote added assistance. One should practice pelvic floor exercises, padmasan, mool bandha to strengthen and optimize the functionality of the desired organs.

    Aphrodisiac Therapies are of 3 types :

    • Sperm generating or enhancing sperm count.
    • Those which helps in ejaculation of seminal fluid.
    • Medicines which serve both the above purpose.

    Medicines like Shatavari, Nagbala, Bala, Musali, Ashwagandha, Milk, Ghee, Haritaki, Amla, Yastimadhu, Pippali, Shatavari kalpa plays an essential role in improving count of efficient sperms.

    Kapikacchu, Vidari, Gokshur, Shatavari, Ashwagandha, Bruhati phala, medicinal preparations like Vrushya vati, Shilajatu, Vanari kalpa cures problems related to Semen ejaculation.

    Diet & Lifestyle Advice:

    • Consume more of dairy proteins, including milk, lassi (buttermilk), and panir (fresh cheese made of milk.
    • Eat soaked almonds or soaked walnuts (you can grind them and add them to your vegetables).
    • Sweet, juicy fruits such as mangoes, peaches, plums, and pears are recommended.
    • Spices such as ajwain (bishop’s weed) powder, cumin (which purifies the uterus in women and the genitourinary tract in men), turmeric (to improve the interaction between hormones and targeted tissues), and black cumin are also good for enhancing fertility.
    • If your digestion is strong, eat urad daal (Split Black Gram) cooked with equal parts of turmeric, cumin, coriander, and fennel.
    • A banana cooked in ghee, cinnamon, and cardamom is a tasty and wholesome dessert for people with strong digestion
    • Avoid high-fat foods and foods containing preservatives
    • Caffeine should also be limited, especially if you’re having trouble conceiving.
    • Refined carbs, such as white bread, pasta and rice, should be limited.
    • Smoking, eating a lot of meat, or drinking alcohol is not recommended.
    • Stress can have a major impact on women’s fertility. The importance of a positive attitude is essential when trying to get pregnant.
    • Being both overweight and underweight can impair a woman’s odds of getting pregnant. If you are underweight, your reproductive system will shut down because of the body’s inability to maintain a pregnancy. On the other hand, being overweight or obese reduces a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.