Fertility issues have emerged as a major cause of concern these days. People may find it hard to believe that India, the world’s second most populous country, is struggling with this problem.
Figures from the Indian Society for Assisted Reproduction (ISAR) state that around 10-14% of couples in India face difficulties in conceiving. This figure is even higher in urban areas, where one out of every six couples faces this problem. They are desperately hoping to have a child but facing continuous disappointments.
While modern healthcare is highly focused and energised on pushing people for various assisted fertility treatments, no one is addressing the real issues that cause hindrance in natural pregnancy.
Most artificial fertility treatment procedures that have become popular in the last few decades, including hormonal treatment, IUI and IVF cost a fortune. They have doubtful success rates and require repetitions. This means these methods could be unaffordable for a large population and do not readily guarantee success.
The real problem with modern healthcare is that it is procedure based and does not focus on holistic solutions. Its idea of fertility is to plant many seeds in the ground and hope for any one seed to germinate. It uses excessive hormonal supplements to help the seed grow and does not pay attention to basic factors like seed quality, type of soil required and further nourishment.
This is where Ayurveda is completely different from modern healthcare. Ayurveda has a very detailed process-based approach to a healthy and natural pregnancy.
Ayurveda treats conception as a holistic process and works on eliminating the factors leading to difficulty in conceiving.
Acharya Charak explained this in his book ‘Charak Samhita’ under ‘Garbh Sambhav Samagri’ almost 5000 years ago, and that information is still a goldmine of knowledge about conceiving in a healthy and natural way.
The literal meaning of this term is ‘Embryo Forming Ingredients.’ Let us understand this with the same example we began with.
If the child is a plant, Ayurveda focuses on improving the conditions necessary for germinating the seed. It doesn’t try to bypass any process. On the contrary, it treats every issue obstructing a successful pregnancy so you can have a healthy child.
Preparing A Healthy Seed: We must start with a healthy seed if we want a healthy plant. It shouldn’t be frail or infested.
A Nutritious Ground: The ground where the seed is sown should also be fertile and nutritious. If the ground isn’t fertile, it must be supplemented with nutrition so that it can support a new life.
Nurturing the Plant: Ayurveda focuses on nurturing the soil and the plant till they become self-sufficient. The proper nutrition must be ensured until the plant starts drawing its own nutrition from the soil.
As mentioned above, the literal meaning of the term Garbh Sambhav Samagri is the ingredients to make ‘Garbh’ or foetus possible. It details the process from preparing the womb to conception and measures to successfully carry the pregnancy for the whole term.
The 4 Essential Parts of Garbh Sambhav Samagri are:
Ritu: Favourable season and compatible climate
Anyone who knows anything about farming or gardening must have knowledge of time and seasons. A crop must be sown in the right season at the correct time of the year for a better harvest. The ovulation window in a woman is the most potent period for conception. Missing that window will dim your chances of conception. All preparations must be done keeping this window in mind.
Kshetra: The sowing ground
It is the land where the seed must germinate. In a woman, the uterine atmosphere is known as the kshetra and includes vaginal, cervical, intrauterine and tubal atmospheres. The overall health and conduciveness of all these areas combined are helpful in a successful pregnancy.
Ambu: Water and nourishment
In a woman, the endometrium is the only source of nourishment for the embryo in the first three months of conception. The foetus implants in the endometrium and draws all its nutrition from it. The endometrium has to provide the required water, nutrients and energy for the foetus to grow for the whole first trimester, after which the placenta would form, and the foetus will start drawing nutrition directly from the mother’s blood. If the endometrium is unhealthy or malnourished, it will become unreceptive and will lead to implantation failure. Even if the implantation is successful, the embryo may starve and get uprooted. It will dangerously raise the risk of chemical pregnancies or early pregnancy loss. Hence, AMBU or catering to the nutritional needs of the kshetra is a very important concept.
Beej: The seed
In terms of fertility, this term includes both the sperm and the ovum. Beej can only work when the ground is fertile, nourished and the season is right. These things can’t be altered once the seed has been planted. Hence, first, you must prepare the kshetra, make it nutrient-rich and wait for the right time or the ovulation window. Once other things are ready, you must plant the right BEEJ. The health of the seed is also an equally important factor. Ayurveda emphasises on improving the quality of the sperm and the ovum because poor quality Beej is a major cause of conception failure. Unhealthy Beej may also lead to defective pregnancies. While anyone can have Beej health issues, they can be easily improved. The sperm and the ovum can be healthier and more potent with diet, lifestyle changes and Ayurvedic herbs.
While conventional medicine claims victory on a successful conception, Ayurveda believes that only a healthy pregnancy should be the correct measure for success.
You must understand that conception cannot be a mark of success. The foetus has to travel a long way from there. Implantation failure is a much bigger challenge than conception. Many women can conceive but can’t hold their pregnancies for long. Either they suffer implantation failures or early pregnancy loss, also known as abortions in common language.
Implantation Failures and Pregnancy Losses
When a woman struggles with reduced fertility, she usually doesn’t know about implantation failure or early pregnancy loss. Her priorities are centred on conceiving successfully. However, that’s not enough. Losing a pregnancy at any stage is even more painful.
Sadly, conventional medicine can’t help you with it. While egg size can be increased and ovulation can be induced, nothing much can be done to improve egg quality, which is a major cause of implantation failure.
Making the Overall Conception Process More Potent
When discussing successful conception, our major concern is successful egg fertilisation by a healthy and potent sperm. However, we undermine the lengthy process that goes on in the background.
Once the sperm enters the vaginal cavity, it has to travel a long way and cross several hurdles to reach the egg. Most of the sperm lose the fight in the way. We never think of the reason why. From the vaginal pH levels to the structure of the cervical tunnel and its mucus, there are several physical and chemical obstructions that sperm must cross to reach the egg. The egg must also be equally healthy and receptive.
Ayurveda gives great importance to these factors. Specific Ayurvedic herbs with diet and lifestyle modifications can help improve the uterine environment. These measures can improve the pH levels and treat vaginal and cervical infections that might prevent pregnancies.
Great Focus on Endometrial Nourishment
Normally, the endometrium should be around 7 mm thick. Hormonal imbalances and disorders like PCOS, endometriosis and taking hormonal treatments can alter this thickness greatly. Either the endometrium becomes too thick or thin. Both are bad for implantation success.
Endometrium receptivity is also an important aspect. Often, the fertilised embryo reaches the uterus but cannot stick to the endometrium & is rejected. Ayurveda focuses on making the endometrium more nourished and receptive. When the endometrium is healthy and nutrient rich, it is more likely to support a new life readily.
Ayurveda had found solutions to most issues related to fertility 5000 years ago. Acharya Charak wrote about them in great detail in his book Charak Samhita long before conventional medicine was conceptualised.
Thousands of years ago, Ayurveda had a good sense of thinking about egg and sperm health, uterine atmosphere and endometrial nourishment. From the ovulation window to other factors promoting fertility, Ayurveda emphasises every important aspect.
Most importantly, Ayurveda doesn’t view these things in parts. It considers all these things to be a part of the whole. This broader outlook of Ayurveda helps it have a much greater success rate.
IUI and IVF are helpful procedures. But they cannot guarantee fertility to every individual.
Ayurveda has numerous herbs to improve egg quality and enrich the endometrium. With healthy lifestyle changes, a proper diet, and Ayurvedic herbs, most of the obstacles in the way of your pregnancy can be easily removed.
Ayurveda doesn’t just treat the symptoms. It helps address issues like PCOS and endometriosis, the biggest cause of infertility in women.
Garbh Sambhav Samagri is a fascinating concept in Ayurveda. It covers every necessary aspect for natural conception. It emphasises on preparing the womb well for conception before you even begin trying. Then it lays down 4 important ingredients for successful conception. Finally, it highlights the usual mistakes leading to conception failures and how to prevent them successfully.