Diabetes alone is not a direct contributor to infertility in women, especially if the disease is controlled. There has been a link between reduced fertility rates and patients with uncontrolled sugars. Additional factors are often present, such as being outside of a healthy BMI range, being diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), or having an autoimmune disease. PCOS can create irregular or absent periods, making tracking ovulation more difficult.
Diabetes and male infertility
Infertility impacts men and women equally. Uncontrolled diabetes can encourage nerve damage which can manifest as erectile dysfunction and ejaculatory dysfunction. Additionally, men with uncontrolled blood sugar are also more likely to experience semen abnormalities such as low sperm quantity and quantity and reduced DNA integrity.
Work towards controlling blood sugars
One of the best ways for diabetic patients to reduce the risk of struggling with infertility is to get blood sugars under control. Diabetes is a pervasive disease that can impact the cardiovascular, renal, and nervous systems. Working with a physician or dietician to improve dietary choices, boost exercise, and take medications if needed can provide holistic benefits, including increasing conception odds.
Consider seeing a fertility specialist
Especially for diabetics with other underlying conditions such as PCOS, trying to conceive naturally can be a bit more complicated. Tracking ovulation can be more complex, too if periods are irregular or absent. Patients age 35 and younger who’ve tried to conceive unsuccessfully for a year or patients 35 and older who’ve been trying for six months should speak with a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist.
Keep your appointments
Once pregnant, women with diabetes may need to see a practitioner more frequently. Diabetic pregnancies are considered more high risk because of the potential for complications such as preeclampsia, pregnancy loss, and even preterm delivery in women. Newborns may be at risk for congenital disabilities, overweight at birth, or neonatal complications.
Pregnancy with diabetes is possible
Successfully conceiving as a person with diabetes is possible, but experts agree that controlling diabetes before conceiving can boost success outcomes and make for a smoother pregnancy with fewer complications. For best results, diabetics trying to conceive should work with a primary care provider or dietician to regulate blood sugar levels. If infertility is a concern, couples and women should speak with a fertility specialist.