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How does diabetes affect fertility?

Lab Ovoclinic Madrid

Today, November 14 is World Diabetes Day, an endocrine and hormonal disease suffered by a large part of society. Today, it is estimated that diabetes affects 9.3% of the world’s population and 5.3 million people in Spain, being more common in men.


Diabetes is a chronic and irreversible disease that affects those organisms that cannot regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. It occurs when there is a decrease in the secretion of the hormone insulin or a deficiency of its action. There are two types of diabetes; both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, which can affect both the female and male components of fertility in different ways.

How does diabetes affect female fertility?

  • Hormonal alterations

Excess glucose can cause hormonal alterations affecting estrogen and progesterone levels, which are fundamental in the fertility and gestation process.

  • Alterations in menstrual cycles

Being a hormonal disease, it is easy to affect the menstrual cycle, usually generating menstrual irregularities, delay in the cycle and alterations in the ovulatory phase.

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Patients suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome tend to have more insulin resistance, which favors the appearance of alterations during ovulation. This condition is a major risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and can directly affect the fertility of women to become pregnant.

  • Obesity problems

It has been demonstrated that obesity is a factor that directly interferes with female fertility. It is very likely that women with obesity have altered leptin levels, which directly affects the success of embryo implantation in the uterus. It has also been observed that, in assisted reproduction treatments, obesity can be a negative addition.

How does it affect male fertility?

  • Oligozoospermia

Men with diabetes may have testicular damage, which results in decreased sperm production and sperm count.

  • Ejaculation disorders and erectile dysfunction

Metabolic or secondary changes related to neuropathic/vascular complications that appear as chronic complications of diabetes can produce alterations in ejaculation (retrograde ejaculation, anejaculation) and erectile dysfunction.

  • Genetic damage to the sperm DNA

Recent studies have shown that diabetic men have a higher proportion of sperm with fragmented DNA. This problem can be solved with the Fertile Chip sperm selection technique previous IVF.

  • Failure of conception

Diabetic males have impaired DNA regeneration capacity, so once the genes contained in the sperm are damaged, they are not repaired. This damage to the sperm’s genetic material leads to failure of conception.

For those couples, women or men who suffer from diabetes and are considering having a baby, we recommend starting with a series of basic tests: antimullerian test – for women – and seminogram – for men, to know the status and quantity of eggs and sperm. These are very exhaustive tests that will allow us to trace the next steps to choose the assisted reproduction treatment that best suits each situation.

See you soon! Madrid, Marbella, Málaga o Ceuta.



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