Women are most fertile between fourteen and thirty five years of age. There are rare cases of earlier pregnancies and there are many cases of pregnancy from thirty-five to forty-five years and, more rarely, after that. There are some cases recorded of women being pregnant after forty-five years of age and before the menopause. On the other hand, girls of ten to twelve years old have also been recorded as being pregnant. Fertility of the woman depends on race, heritage, climate, health and sexual circumstances.
In normal conditions, a woman is expected to conceive within a couple of years of marriage. If she does not get pregnant within four years of marriage, her fertility is doubtful and she needs to look for the reason. She has to consult a specialist and be treated appropriately before it is too late.
If everything goes well and the doctor is able to eradicate the problem, she is safe; otherwise her husband will most likely start looking for another fertile woman who could give him a child. The wife would be declared STERILE and, certainly if she were Hindu, she would never be treated well in the family afterwards. In most of the cases, a second wife would be brought in to produce a child while the first wife was still there.
In other cases, a sterile woman would be divorced to make way for another woman. Some more thoughtful couples choose to adopt a child, either from their relatives or from the orphanage, whichever is more convenient and available. Perhaps that could be considered very appropriate and advisable for such couples
Nobody tolerates a sterile woman in Hindu society, and the childless woman cannot stay peacefully within the family. A woman is supposed to be a mother after marriage. It does not even matter if the pregnancy occurs after several years, or if the child dies as an infant. Even a disabled or mentally handicapped child would save the woman from becoming an outcast. But she should conceive at least once to remove the stain of STERILITY from her life.
Not that all husbands do want a child at any cost. Not all men are ready to replace the wife just because she cannot bear him a child, and neither do they wish to divorce the loving wife whom they have vowed during the marriage ceremony to take as their life partners until death.
In some circumstances, the parents and other family members are the ones who go to extremes regarding infertility and it is often fear of his relatives especially the mother which encourages or forces the husband to abandon his barren wife. He never considers such harsh tactics in the event of his own impotency… no, he and his family members would keep quiet if HE were the sterile one.
Thus sterility is a curse to a woman in all cases, whether it is from natural causes or not. Several cases of sterility can be treated and cured by modern treatment if the deficiency is caught in time. There are certain cases, however, which can never be dealt with. The life of such a woman turns out to be difficult, as she would be treated as a cursed and unfortunate woman. This is observed in most of the HINDU orthodox and even civilized families.
There are several factors involved in sterility. Infertility of a woman is diagnosed according to any physical ailments she may have. Food is also an important factor. Obviously a deficiency of vitamins A and B can cause sterility in a woman. The lack of such types of food leads to the irregularity of her menstrual cycle, and a woman with irregular periods will rarely conceive a child, although there have been some cases where very young married girls had become pregnant even before beginning to menstruate.
Then a female with excess acidity will never develop a pregnancy as the male sperm cannot survive due to excess heat in the womb. If by chance the living sperm do fertilize the ovum, the resulting pregnancy may terminate within a few months as the embryo created may be unable to tolerate the heat of the womb for long. However, this problem can be rectified, but only if precautions are taken in time.
A woman with chronic or acute constipation would fail to conceive, even if she were otherwise healthy. The stools in storage compacting her intestines would cause misalignment of the uterus and the sperm is therefore unlikely to gain entry in time to fertilize the waiting ovum, which will grow weak and die within a short time.
A woman with under-developed breasts also is less likely to become pregnant. The cause might be hormonal, and if appropriate treatment is given in such a case, the chances of pregnancy are improved.
Inverted nipples are considered to be a hindrance to fertility in a woman. The experienced gynaecologist could rectify this problem by carrying out a special surgical procedure on the mammary glands and nipples. Similarly, an under-developed or abnormally small uterus will hardly qualify for pregnancy. A female who does not produce ova, nor has no fallopian tubes, is not easy to treat and may remain sterile forever. Blocked fallopian tubes can be rectified by a small, specialized operation.
If the uterus is narrow and the hymen is very strong and remains intact, the chances of pregnancy are rare without having the required surgery. The uterine fluid should contain the right acid and alkaline balance constantly. A ‘D and C’ operation is carried out to widen the cervix.
Occasionally the entrance to the uterus is closed due to erosion and endocervicitis, causing sterility. Hypoplasia, a small, or retroverted uterus can be another cause.
Any disease of the uterus, especially ulcers or cancer, may prevent pregnancy, and any ailments of the fallopian tubes or any part of the womb will prevent pregnancy. Pelvic peritoneum endocrine factor, anovular menstruation and amenorrhoea are also major causes of sterility in women.
Similar hindrances to those mentioned above are anaemia, leucorrhoea, and hypothyroidism. Obesity in a woman plays an important part in befriending sterility. The extra flesh in and around the female genitals will obstruct the sperm’s path to the ovum. However, many overweight females have achieved healthy pregnancies after successful dieting.
A very cold woman, if not treated properly in bed by her husband, may take years to bear a child. The appropriate mating of sperm and ovum will not occur in such cases and pregnancy is delayed until the climate is right. On the other hand, a very hot woman may also be considered infertile as the heat in her womb could weaken or even kill the sperm.
Lastly, the mental stability of the woman is very important for pregnancy. If a woman has to face abuse or harassment from her husband or in-laws, it is possible that she will be unable to bear a child. The anxiety may affect her sterility. Couples who are incompatible may be prey to such situations.
It is often the case that a woman is mistakenly considered to be sterile when, in fact, it is her husband who is deficient. There are many factors in the man which may be the cause to blame for what is wrongly considered to be the woman’s problem. It is advisable to give the husband a full check up before declaring the wife sterile and putting all the blame on her.
Sometimes a careless doctor declares the woman sterile without investigating the full details of the case, often being unaware of other issues affecting fertility in women, apart from his own knowledge. Perhaps he is inexperienced and has never come in contact with certain aspects of infertility. Or maybe it was omitted from his training.
I have mentioned most of the causes of sterility and a good doctor and a wise husband should not give up until all the diagnostic procedures are carried out satisfactorily. Believe me, in most cases it would not take long for the woman and her doctor to find that she was capable of motherhood once a minor problem was sorted out, often with the application of a natural remedy.
I have studied the cases of 280 women declared infertile and you may be surprised or even amazed, to know that very little treatment was required to get positive results in 110 of them and 68 were pregnant after longer treatments of six months to two years. The remedies were mainly dietary; proper diet control could bring most cases to a successful conclusion.
It was made very easy for me as I referred to the files of various doctors’ diagnoses, reports and treatments and discovered what they had overlooked and not done. And then I simply did what had not been done. I had to consult the physicians for their further advice and reference as some of the patients had not followed their instructions due to impatience or lack of finance. I sent the patients for tests, which were important and had not been taken previously. I was very much aware of the fact that the majority of my patients was not financially well off and therefore had not attended regularly for treatment.
But I gave them more time and studied their cases very deeply and took the advice of co-operative doctors as and when required. The busier doctors did not have much time for these standard patients who found it a struggle to pay for the doctors’ extra time and efforts.