Erectile Dysfunction and Infertility: A Comprehensive Overview

When trying to get pregnant, emotions run high and a variety of factors come into play to contribute to or detract from your success. Though many people think of erectile dysfunction as affecting older men, not men in the typical age group that is trying to conceive, a study reported in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found that one in four men seeking treatment for ED is under 40 years of age. Erectile dysfunction doesn’t have to mean infertility, but for many, it can lead that way. The thing to remember is that erectile dysfunction is a symptom, not a disease, so treating the underlying cause of your erectile dysfunction can potentially resolve your struggle with infertility. Then again, infertility has many causes and ED may only be a contributing factor, but not a source. Let’s look deeper into this issue to try and understand what is at play when trying to conceive and what role erectile dysfunction may play in the picture.

Does Erectile Dysfunction Cause Infertility?

There’s a bit of a chicken and the egg situation when thinking about if ED causes infertility. ED certainly can be a contributing factor to male infertility because it gets in the way of ejaculation, which is required in order for the sperm to enter the vaginal canal and seek out the woman’s egg. On the other hand, infertility itself can cause anxiety and even depression, which also contributes to ED. Additionally, the pressures to conceive can lead to performance anxiety, which can prevent a man from having an erection. So, as you can see, erectile dysfunction and infertility are tightly twined together, as each can cause the other to occur. 

The Mechanics of Conceiving

In order to understand how erectile dysfunction can affect fertility, it’s important to go over what exactly needs to happen in order for a couple to conceive a baby. It is common knowledge that the sperm and the egg must meet so that fertilization has a chance of occurring–it is not definite that shooting a bunch of sperm at an egg will result in fertilization at all. But before the sperm embark on their journey through the vaginal canal, they gather in wait within the semen until they can be ejaculated. Here is where we run into trouble if sexual dysfunction comes into play. If a man cannot hold or even form an erection, can he still ejaculate?

Good News For Men Suffering From ED Who Are Trying to Conceive

The answer is: yes! The inability to have or maintain an erection during intercourse does not mean a man cannot ejaculate ever. He may have to self-stimulate in order to get there, but often, a man experiencing erectile dysfunction will be able to achieve ejaculation at some point. As long as his sperm count is good, which means the number of sperm released during ejaculation (and which is not necessarily related to his erectile dysfunction), he should be able to get his wife pregnant. Of course, if the couple is unable to have successful intercourse, they may need some help getting that sperm on their way to the egg.

What Methods Exist To Help a Man with Erectile Dysfunction Experiencing Infertility?

Considering a man with ED may not be able to ejaculate during intercourse, the couple will likely need outside help in order to conceive. Luckily, we live in an era with advanced reproductive technology to help couples who are experiencing different forms of infertility. Intrauterine Insemination, otherwise known as IUI, is one commonly used method to help infertile couples conceive when the problem they are facing has to do with the sperm’s journey to the egg. Sometimes, like in a couple with ED, the sperm needs some help. With IUI, the man ejaculates into a cup and then his sperm is inserted into the woman at very specific times surrounding her ovulation. This procedure involves a fertility specialist and can be expensive, but some insurance plans do cover all or part of the procedure, so it is worth inquiring about.

If there is no other underlying cause of infertility aside from ED, it may also help to treat the ED itself so the couple can achieve intercourse without intervention. ED treatment can be in the form of medication, a procedure, diet changes, addressing mental health issues, or another kind of treatment particular to whatever condition is causing the ED.

An erectile dysfunction clinic like Apex Health Center is equipped and experienced in helping patients treat their whole body, not just their ED. It is important to find a doctor who will listen to all your symptoms, examine you thoroughly, and come up with a treatment plan specific to your needs. The right doctor will also be able to refer you to a fertility specialist who can help you and your partner during the emotional rollercoaster of trying to conceive.

Recent Posts
Erectile dysfunction and heart disease are often connected.Erectile dysfunction and diabetes can be linked.