Is difficulty in conceiving a modern-day urban phenomena? Why are financially secure, professionally successful young women in cities finding themselves unable to conceive a child naturally, while women from villages seem to be able to do so with ease?
Parenting is a gift that almost every couple wishes for. But it’s not a gift that every couple gets. Many couples find themselves unable to conceive a child naturally, and therefore opt for assistance of one type or another. Some go for in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) while some adopt. Others choose surrogacy as the path to parenthood.
Many celebrities fall under the last category. Sunny Leone, Lakshmi Manchu, Kim Kardashian, Aamir Khan are a few personalities who have had children by surrogacy. The latest to join this group is Shilpa Shetty Kundra. Talking about her daughter in an interview, Shilpa recounted how she and her husband Raj had tried unsuccessfully to have a second child for five years, before going in for surrogacy. While many congratulated the couple on social media, a few, including author Meghna Pant, commented that it was the age factor that had made Shilpa opt for surrogacy.
Stress and Fertility
Age is definitely a factor affecting natural conception. More and more women from well-to-do urban families are finding it difficult to conceive after a certain age, while village women experience no such difficulty in general. According to Dr Swapna Yendru, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Swapna Health Centre, the main reason why women find it difficult to conceive is a stressful work culture. “The biorhythms of women who work for long hours and at odd hours or night shifts change. Also, pollution and stress at the workplace affect their hormones. But there are couples on the other side of the spectrum too — those who spend so much time on social media vying for that uber cool life that they lose the spark in their relationships. Not to forget the few people who put away child-bearing in order to get to the mythical ‘perfect’ place financially and career-wise. Postponing pregnancy causes increased incidence of fibroids, endometriosis, etc., which contributes to fertility issues,” she explains.”
Interestingly, the maximum average age to conceive for Asian women is 45 years, whereas for Caucasians it is 58 years, according to Divakar Reddy, MD, Dr Padmaja Fertility Centre. “As one gets older, ovarian tissue declines. In the last seven years, we have done more than 2000 surrogacy cases for couples who have failed to conceive naturally,” he says. “Surrogacies are an expensive procedure. We haven’t met anyone who wants to spend `15 lakh just for the sake of it,” he adds.
Surrogacy on rise Elaborating on the rising number of surrogacies in Hyderabad, Dr Kalpana, Sr. Fertility Specialist, Morpheus Kasturi International IVF Centre, Secunderabad, says, “Yes there is demand for surrogacy. The reasons are advanced age, problems with the uterus, pelvic tuberculosis, infections etc. In rural areas, people do not plan childbirth. They get married quite early and getting pregnant is the most natural step after marriage,” she explains.