My husband was diagnosed as having diabetes 1 years ago. He is 35 and is on diet control with oral medications. Will diabetes affect his fertility?
A. Diabetes can affect male fertility in various ways. They include:
· Reduced sperm quality: Studies have shown that diabetes can cause damage to the genetic materials of the sperm. This will reduce the chances of fertilisation and increase the risks of miscarriage and foetal abnormalities even when conception occurs.
· Erectile dysfunction(ED): Diabetes affects the nerve supply and blood circulation to the penis. This results in difficulty in getting or maintaining an erection. Some of the medications used in the treatment of diabetes may also cause ED.
· Retarded ejaculation or delayed ejaculation: The loss or reduced sensitivity in the penis as the result of nerve damage from diabetes will lead to ejaculation problems.
· Low testosterone levels in the blood have been shown in one out of four men with type 2 diabetes. This can lead to low sperm count, ED and decreased sexual drive.
· Retrograde ejaculation: The damage to the nerve supply of the bladder muscles that control the opening of the urinary passage causes the backflow of the semen into the bladder. Hence,the sperm may not be able to deposit in the vagina during ejaculation.