Will Diabetes Make Me Infertile?
According to the American Diabetes Association, more than 20 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes, and more than eight million are undiagnosed but assumed to have the condition. Diabetes is a serious health concern which requires careful attention and monitoring of diet, exercise and lifestyle habits.
When diabetics take care of themselves, they can lead normal, healthy lives with relatively minimal daily impact from their condition. However, one unexpected concern that doesn’t usually come up in diabetes discussions with men is their fertility and the effect diabetes can have on trying to conceive.
How does diabetes affect fertility?
In men, diabetes is known to cause certain medical issues that make conception difficult or not possible without treatment. These conditions include erectile dysfunction, retrograde ejaculation, retarded (delayed) ejaculation, low sperm quality, and low testosterone, also known as hypogonadism.
What are these male infertility conditions?
Erectile dysfunction – Men who struggle with erectile dysfunction are unable to get or maintain an erection. Erectile dysfunction is caused by nerve damage and issues with proper blood circulation. It is most common in long-term diabetics and those with untreated diabetes.
Retrograde ejaculation – This is when semen enters your bladder instead of exiting the body. This is not a serious health concern, but it will make it difficult to conceive without assisted reproductive technology.
Retarded ejaculation – This is when a man struggles to ejaculate due to penile nerve damage, certain medications, stress or psychological issues, or diabetes. Assisted reproductive services are needed in order to address infertility caused by nerve damage.
Low sperm quality – Sperm quality and sperm motility are different. Quality is the sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg, whereas motility is the sperm’s ability to travel toward an egg so it can fertilize. Motility is not typically affected by diabetes, but quality can be impaired. Obesity, an issue linked to diabetes, also plays a role in a man’s sperm quality.
Low testosterone (hypogonadism) – Testosterone is a hormone that decreases as men age, but it is also linked to diabetes and infertility. Low testosterone can’t be cured, but treatment options to help raise those hormone levels are available through medication, assisted reproductive technology, and lifestyle changes like weight loss.
Contact the Male Fertility & Sexual Medicine Specialists today to discuss diabetes and male infertility with one of our experienced providers.