Diabetes, a prevalent chronic health condition, significantly influences fertility in both men and women. Understanding the complex relationship between diabetes and reproductive health is crucial for individuals planning to conceive. The primary cause of diabetes is the inability of the body to produce or use insulin effectively, leading to high blood sugar levels. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. This article delves into the various ways diabetes affects fertility, examining its impact on both genders.
In an interaction with Zee News English, Dr Kshitiz Murdia, CEO & Co- Founder, Indira IVF talks about how diabetes affects a woman’s fertility and pregnancy.
Diabetes and Female Fertility
Dr Kshitiz says, “In women, diabetes poses a multifaceted challenge to fertility. Factors such as obesity, underweight, diabetic complications, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and autoimmune diseases contribute to lower fertility rates. Conditions like PCOS can disrupt menstrual cycles, leading to irregularities or complete amenorrhoea. Notably, women with type 1 diabetes exhibit distinct reproductive patterns, including delayed menarche, increased blood sugar levels, and early natural menopause, resulting in a 17% reduction in the reproductive window.”
“Diabetes can lead to delayed ovulation, abnormal menstruation, reduced chances of natural pregnancy, and an increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirths. High blood glucose levels during pregnancy may result in fatal malformations and macrosomia. Long-term complications such as eye problems and kidney disease can worsen during pregnancy, with preeclampsia posing additional risks.”
Diabetes and Male Fertility
In men, diabetes adversely affects fertility by impacting sexual function and semen quality. Diabetic men are more likely to experience sexual disorders, particularly erectile dysfunction, compared to their non-diabetic counterparts. Studies reveal that non-diabetic men exhibit superior genetic and morphological sperm quality, with reduced DNA damage. Diabetes interferes with multiple components of the reproductive system in both men and women, necessitating comprehensive evaluation and treatment.
Managing Diabetes-Related Fertility Issues
“Addressing fertility challenges associated with diabetes requires a multidimensional approach. Lifestyle modifications and medications may alleviate some issues, but others may demand assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), for successful conception. Couples planning to have children should prioritize obtaining accurate diagnoses for any underlying medical concerns, allowing for informed decisions and tailored interventions”, adds Dr Kshitiz.
Recognizing these challenges and seeking appropriate medical guidance is paramount for individuals navigating the path to parenthood. With a comprehensive understanding of how diabetes influences fertility, couples can make informed choices and explore suitable interventions to fulfill their dreams of starting a family.
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