How do other illnesses affect fertility?

Chronic, debilitating diseases, such as unregulated diabetes, lupus or thyroid problems, can interfere with normal ovarian function and therefore affect fertility. Also, some medications such as high-dose steroids can interrupt ovulation. On the other hand, if you don't get pregnant, your chronic condition may not be the cause; many other things can affect fertility.

Optimizing your health by treating your condition is critical before you conceive a pregnancy. Discuss your condition with your healthcare provider so that he or she can work with you to determine the real cause of your infertility—and don't assume anything.

Other illnesses may affect your fertility directly or indirectly. Certain medical problems may lead to infertility if they affect the reproductive system or hormones. Infections, especially sexually transmitted diseases, may lead to infertility in both men and women. Other illnesses, such as diabetes and Cushing's syndrome, may cause difficulties in men's ability to produce and deliver sperm. Cancer can also impair fertility directly, especially if it affects women's reproductive systems. Illnesses can also cause infertility indirectly because certain medications used to treat those conditions may affect fertility. This is especially true of radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer. Talk to your doctor if you're concerned that a medical condition is affecting your fertility.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.