Can STDs Make You Infertile?
In addition to protecting your long-term health, avoiding STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) is very important to safeguard your fertility. Certain STDs will put your fertility at risk or can directly affect your sperm count and motility. This is especially troubling because many STDs can be asymptomatic, meaning that you will not feel or notice a difference for months or even years after transmission took place. STD screening and prevention are equally important to protect overall health as well as any future family planning goals you may have.
The STDs that can cause infertility are:
- Symptoms include urethral discharge (yellow, green or white), burning sensation while urinating, and/or pain and swelling of the testicles. Some cases of gonorrhea are symptomless.
- Symptoms include burning or pain during urination, urethra discharge, pain in the testicles and/or discharge from the rectum.
- Mycoplasma Genitalium (MG)
- Most cases of MG are asymptomatic, but some men can experience pain and swelling in the joints, burning sensation while urinating and/or urethral discharge.
Fortunately, STD treatment is available to cure most conditions or manage their symptoms. However, active prevention and frequent screening should remain a high priority for sexually-active men of all ages. Safe, proper use of contraception is needed during every sexual experience, including oral and anal sex. Birth control options like the birth control pill and IUD can prevent pregnancy when used properly, but they cannot protect you or your partner from an STD – only a condom can do that.
If you believe you have contracted an STD or have questions about your individual risk factor, please contact your provider to discuss STD screening immediately. As noted earlier, treatment is often an option for many STD cases, but the length of time from transmission to screening and diagnosis is important. Avoiding or ignoring concerns about STDs is not advisable, and doing so can put your health and ability to conceive a child unassisted at risk.