Half the young women who underwent a special fertility test in a city laboratory found to have low fertility index.
Anti Mullerian hormone (AMH) is secreted by the egg sacs and the hormone levels in the blood were used to interpret the fertility index.
Blood test to indicate the AMH levels was done in 29,621 women aged 20-40 years. Almost half the group had low ovarian reserves. The ovary's ability to produce eggs that can result in pregnancy is termed, ovarian reserves.
"Over 54% women aged 30-35 and 38% aged 26-30 who underwent the test had low levels, indicating fertility problems," said the study.
Dr Firuza Parikh, heads, infertility treatment department of Jaslok Hospital, said "Every day, I see a woman in her early 30s who has ovarian reserves of a 40-year old woman. The problem has reached alarming proportions."
She had been noticing the trend of falling egg reserves for five to six years. While a rate of 2-5 in the AMH test is seen as acceptable, below 2 indicates low ovarian reserves. Though the cause is unknown, doctors suspect that environmental factors influence fertility.
"It could be a bioaccumulation of environmental toxins, be it from pollutants in the air or plastics we use. These toxins have an effect on sperm and ovaries," Dr Parikh added.
Dr Sonali Kolte of Metropolis Healthcare, which conducted the test, said, "Today, women marry late and plan their pregnancy three to five years into marriage. Most women opt for contraception to avoid pregnancy. It is important that women understand their ovarian reserve before they decide. This helps them take a better decision and avoid unnecessary stress when they plan to conceive."
Dr Aniruddha Malpani, an infertility specialist from Colaba, said the test was an excellent tool to predict how long she could be fertile. "It is not a tool meant to spread panic among women, but to help them find out about their fertility levels and plan their life accordingly."