For many men who struggle with erectile dysfunction, there is a fear that it may have a long-term effect on their ability to start or grow their families.
If you’re asking “Can erectile dysfunction cause infertility?” and/or are facing this struggle, you are not alone and there is help for you.
In this article, we’ve answered common questions about the connection between erectile dysfunction and infertility. Let’s get right in!
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals, and the advice we offer is not medically certified. You should always talk with your doctor for professional medical help.
Can Erectile Dysfunction Cause Infertility?
Although erectile dysfunction does not necessarily affect sperm parameters or directly cause infertility, it can affect chances of conceiving a child. There have also been studies that have shown that erectile dysfunction and infertility might have similar root causes including neurological defects like diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Is Erectile Dysfunction a Sign of Infertility?
There are times where erectile dysfunction might indicate a hormonal balance, such as in testosterone or follicle-stimulating hormone, which can impact sexual function and fertility.
What Causes Erectile Dysfunction?
Because of the complexity of the male sexual arousal process, there are several possible causes for erectile dysfunction:
As you age, the chances of developing erectile dysfunction also increase, likely because the conditions that cause erectile dysfunction are more common with age. However, erectile dysfunction is not considered a regular or normal aspect of aging.
- Pelvic surgery: Prostate, rectal, and bladder surgeries can injure blood vessels or nerves, which might lead to erectile dysfunction.
- Obesity: According to research, 79% of men presenting erectile disorders have a higher BMI.
- Low testosterone: Erectile dysfunction can sometimes be contributed by hypogonadism, which is where the testes fail to produce sufficient testosterone amounts.
- Prescription medications: Research has shown than 25% of all erectile dysfunction cases are from side effects from certain medications, such as antidepressants, tranquilizers, and diuretics.
- Tobacco use: Men who smoked were more likely to get erectile dysfunction compared to men who didn’t smoke.
- And more
- Stress: When higher cortisol levels are experienced during stressful events, impotence and loss of libido can develop and inhibit testosterone production in men.
- Relationship issues: While erectile dysfunction often results in relationship problems, there are cases where relationship problems occur first and lead to a loss of libido and erectile dysfunction.
- Depression and anxiety: For people with depression, it’s often been found in research that their sex-related chemicals are out of balance, which results in low or missing sexual desire.
Are There Treatments for Erectile Dysfunction?
Researchers have noticed that because erectile dysfunction may be a sign of infertility, it may also indicate other health issues. By investigating various facets of general, psychological, and sexual health, doctors can have a better chance of treating sexual dysfunction.
Once any underlying health condition are ruled out, there are some possible erectile dysfunction treatments available:
- Penis pumps: This creates a vacuum-like effect that pulls blood into the penis to create an erection.
- Male enhancement pills: These pills can include Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis, which work by increasing blood flow to the penis.
- Surgical penile implants: These are bendable and inflatable rods that can be surgically placed at the sides of the penis.
- And more
Typically, the providers who treat erectile dysfunction are primary care physicians or urologists. If erectile dysfunction is the result of psychological issues, mental health professionals can be helpful when treating the disorder.
What Options Are There if Treatments Don’t Work?
If erectile dysfunction continues to hinder your ability to conceive a child, your next option might be to talk with your doctor about infertility testing:
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This is a method that involves freezing sperm to use at the time of insemination, then placing the sperm directly into your partner’s uterus around the time their ovary releases eggs for fertilization.
- Surgical sperm retrieval: This can include testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or testicular sperm aspiration (TESA), and both of these options involve retrieving sperm from the testicles through surgery.
- Electroejaculation: This option is used to induce ejaculation in people who have erectile dysfunction by inserting a probe rectally and pressing it against the process. This delivers a frequency that continues to increase to help stimulate ejaculation.
- Adopting a healthier lifestyle: Eating well, exercising regularly, addressing any mental health issues, and limiting sugar and alcohol intake can all have a positive effect on both erectile dysfunction and fertility.
If there are continued issues or struggles with erectile dysfunction and infertility, another option available for you is surrogacy. For intended parents who believe that becoming parents is more important than actually being pregnant, surrogacy can be the best way to preserve a genetic connection to their child.
With surrogacy, an embryo is created by the intended parents from their own sperm and egg or with a donor gamete and then transferred into the uterus of a surrogate, who will carry the child to term for them.
Most surrogacy professionals will only complete gestational surrogacies, which means the surrogate is not related to the child she carries. Gestational surrogacy is an emotional process, and both intended parents and surrogates should be prepared for the physical and emotional challenges that will await them.
To learn more about the surrogacy process, or what options are available to you if you are struggling with erectile dysfunction and infertility, you can contact a surrogacy professional today. While surrogacy may not be one of the infertility options that’s best for everyone, it may be best for you.