Can Diabetes Affect Fertility in Men and Women?

7 min read

Written by Aparna Hari

Aparna Hari

Can diabetes affect fertility

Diabetes is a medical condition in which the human body is not able to use sugars and carbohydrates or starch to make energy. Diabetes can affect fertility in men and women in a negative way and reduce the chances of achieving pregnancy. The insulin deficit does not allow the human body to use this insulin to get energy. That’s why, extra sugar is generated in the blood. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes creates problems in women during pregnancy and hampers the proper development of babies. Bad or no control of diabetes in pregnancy causes birth defects and major delivery complications. Therefore, proper health care should be followed by women suffering from diabetes.

Not only women but also men are the major victim of diabetes. The major complication in men is that it disturbs the functioning of the male reproductive system. Glucose plays an important role in spermatogenesis. It also reduces the quality of sperm. The low testosterone levels in men during diabetes reduce the sex drive in men. Whether you are a male or a female suffering from diabetes, you should be very cautious when planning for conception. Because it badly affects fertility in men and women. So, your diabetes should be controlled and maintained.

In This Article

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the pancreas in the body is not able to produce insulin, the hormone that is vital to break down the glucose from the food we eat and pass it into the cells in the body. Sometimes the body produces insulin but cannot use it for the carbohydrate breakdown process. As a result, the blood glucose levels increase which results in various related health conditions.

Impact of Diabetes on Fertility

Diabetes And Male fertility

Diabetes can have an adverse impact on fertility in both men and women. Among women, this condition affects the menstrual cycle, thereby impacting ovulation and fertilization. Diabetes is also known to increase the risk of pregnancy-related risk factors such as miscarriages and stillbirths.

Among men, diabetes can lead to erection issues, and lower testosterone levels and can negatively affect sperm count and morphology.

How Does Diabetes Affect Male Fertility?

Diabetes is a health concern that needs serious attention and monitoring of various factors like diet, lifestyle, and exercise habits. With proper management of the condition, you can lead a normal and healthy life. The condition of diabetes can exert a great impact on your body, your food, your energy level, your health conditions etc.

In men, diabetes creates various medical issues that lead to difficulty in conception. Sometimes conception cannot happen without medical intervention and treatment.

Untreated or long-term diabetes can lead to many conditions that can interfere with fertility levels in men. Some of the conditions include

1. Erectile Dysfunction

ED is a condition where the affected male will find it difficult to achieve and retain an erection making sex and releasing sperm difficult. Men with diabetes, especially with type 2 diabetes experience nerve damage and improper blood circulation all of which lead to ED and subsequently infertility.

2. Ejaculatory Dysfunctions

Men with diabetes often experience delayed ejaculation and sometimes even anejaculation. Delayed ejaculation is a condition where the man is unable to release sperms at climax during sexual intercourse. With anejaculation, the male is unable to release any sperm during sex. All of these conditions make achieving pregnancy difficult.

3. Retrograde Ejaculation

This is a relatively rare condition where the semen enters the bladder inside the men’s body instead of coming out of the body. This condition makes it completely difficult to conceive. The use of assisted reproductive technology or ARTs can greatly help.

[Read : What Are The Different Types Of Assisted Reproductive Technologies?]

4. Lower Testosterone Levels

Testosterone is a hormone required for the sexual functioning of the body. Diabetes in men leads to lower levels of testosterone hormone, also known as hypogonadism. Thereby making it very difficult to conceive.

5. Poor Sperm Quality

Although sperm mobility is not majorly affected by diabetes, sperm quality is ruined. The tendency of the sperm required to fertilize the egg is minimized.

Diabetes ruins the blood vessel and nerves in a male body, thereby, increasing the risk of various infections. It is also connected with a high range of problems in men sexually, physically, and mentally also.

How Does Diabetes Affect Female Fertility?

Diabetes And Female Fertiltiy

Diabetes is very well known for its effect on the female’s tendency to pregnant and become successful to have a baby. It is one of the major causes of infertility and poor reproductive health in women. Glucose or sugar is the major source of energy production in the human body. Generally, it is greatly managed by insulin which absorbs glucose produced by the pancreas.

Diabetes may affect female fertility in many ways.

  • It causes hormonal imbalance which leads to delay in implantation or conception. Also, diabetes relates to the poor quality of embryos and damaged DNA.
  • Pregnancy complications like defects in the fetus, early miscarriage, or improper development of a baby.
  • Due to stress, anxiety, and tiredness, many women have less or no sexual drive.
  • Less lubrication in the vagina creates discomfort in a female during intercourse.
  • Diabetic women are prone to infections and improper functioning of reproductive organs.

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes- type 1 and type 2 depending on the mechanism with which they interfere with the glucose absorption by the cells.

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the cells in your pancreas are mistakenly destroyed. As a result, the body fails to produce insulin hormone. The point to worry about is that the damage made is permanent in nature. How this condition happens is not clear, but there may be many reasons associated with the cause of type one diabetes like genetic conditions, environmental reasons and lifestyle factors, etc.

Type 2 Diabetes

It is an insulin-resistance condition which means that the body is unable to make efficient use of insulin. In this situation, the pancreas produces less insulin thereby, increasing the blood sugar levels. The various factors causing such diabetes are genetics, obesity, food habits, or poor lifestyle.

Gestational Diabetes

This is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. It is seen in patients having diabetes in their family history or pre-diabetic patients.

How to Treat Type 1 Diabetes For Fertility?

Since diabetes is harmful for fertility in men and women both by badly affecting their reproductive organs. Hormonal imbalance in both is the major cause of delay in pregnancy.

It makes the quality of egg and sperm weaker. Thus, it decreases the chances of a baby’s birth. Both men and women face sexual dysfunctions, loss of interest in intercourse and challenges to make childbirth possible.

For well-managed sugar control, you should focus more on lifestyle changes. Consult your doctor whenever you face concerns regarding infertility. To increase the chances of conceiving, create a plan to manage your diabetes before and after your pregnancy.

The treatment plan should be two-fold – medications to treat the problem and lifestyle changes to manage healthy blood sugar levels

A large number of causes for fertility issues have treatment options. Our medical science is seeing a lot of improvements. Most of these issues see an easy solution with maintaining blood sugar levels and attaining a healthy body weight. Various other issues require medical consultation with certified doctors. The root cause of some fertility issues is stress. By remaining stress-free and trying to keep yourself calm, you can improve your chances of conception.

So, if you are suffering from diabetes and are planning to have a baby, you may surely meet your endocrinologist or fertility expert at first.

[Read : 5 Practical Ways To Reduce Stress For Getting Pregnant]

How to Control Diabetes to Attain a Healthy Pregnancy?

Contrlling diabetes for health pregnancy

“Prevention is better than cure “Is the only mantra to overcome or come out of diabetes. Once you are diagnosed with any type of diabetes, management of weight and symptoms becomes the key. Here is how you can control diabetes to attain a healthy pregnancy.

1. Watch What You Eat

Eating a well-balanced diet with a good amount of fibers can be greatly helpful. Include lots of salads and green leafy vegetables in your diet. Consult with your doctor or a nutritionist to understand what you can eat and what you must avoid.

[Read : Diet and Lifestyle Changes When Trying to Conceive]

2. Monitor Your Blood Sugar Levels

Because pregnancy needs a lot of energy, therefore, a record of checking blood sugar levels at different intervals is maintained.

3. Take Your Medications on Time

As and when required you must take insulin, to keep your blood sugar controlled.

4. Exercise

Exercising is the key. It helps to digest food and restore blood sugar.


1. How Does Diabetes Affect Sperm Quality?

Increased blood sugar disrupts the male reproductive system due to the damaged nerve and blood vessels. This damage impacts the sperm quality and reduces it though the sperm count may not see much effect. Sperm quality is a major factor for successful fertilization and conception

2. How Does Diabetes Affect Egg Quality?

Due to the poor functioning of reproductive organs and insulin resistance, the quality of the egg is decreased thereby, creating a challenge during pregnancy. Diabetes will negatively affect the environment where the egg is growing. As a result, the egg quality and the process of ovulation get affected making it difficult to achieve a successful conception.

Read Also: Infertility In Men And Women : Symptoms And Treatment

Aparna Hari,MBA in Marketing,P.G. Diploma in Human Resource Management from IGNOU Bachelor of Sciences (Home Science) from Nagarjuna University

Her experience in impactful writing combined with her background in Home Sciences makes Aparna the perfect candidate for content writing in the pregnancy and parenting niche.Read more.

Responses (0)

Please check a captcha

Want curated content sharply tailored for your exact stage of parenting?

Discover great local businesses around you for your kids.

Get regular updates, great recommendations and other right stuff at the right time.


Our site uses cookies to make your experience on this site even better. We hope you think that is sweet.