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The risks and considerations of the impact of STDs on fertility

By Dr. Jesús Alberto Félix Atondo

Every year, over three hundred and seventy-four million sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are diagnosed globally, most without any symptoms. Many of these are curable, including Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, and Chlamydia. Understanding the risks and considerations of STD’s impact on fertility may lead more people to seek treatment.


Understanding STDs

If you are sexually active, your risk for STDs is undeniable. STDs are commonly known as sexually transmitted infections (STI) and Venereal Disease (VD). Most common in adults age twenty-five and younger, sexually transmitted diseases are transferred by sexual partners through genital contact or body fluid exchange. The exchange can be vaginal, anal, or oral.

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STDs are caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses that spread throughout your body. Some sexually transmitted diseases have symptoms, while others do not. Treatment for STDs ranges from simple to more complicated, depending on how the disease affects your body. It is essential to be treated for sexually transmitted diseases to prevent infertility, certain cancers, and organ damage.

STDs can be passed from partner to partner and, most importantly, to your unborn baby if the carrier is not treated!


STDs that Affect Fertility


Gonorrhea is most prevalent in younger adults between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four because they are the most sexually active age group, and many choose unprotected sex. Untreated gonorrhea can have severe consequences.

In males, it causes epididymitis, an inflammation of the sperm duct. Left untreated, this STD causes infertility by scarring the sperm ducts to the point of blocking them. The scarring prevents sperm from entering a female partner during intercourse.

The female reproductive tract is the perfect place for gonorrhea to thrive! The fallopian tubes and uterus are especially susceptible to tubal factor infertility.

Twenty-five to thirty percent of all infertility is due to tubal factor infertility. It causes infertility in two ways: the fertilized egg is unable to enter the blocked tube for fertilization, and the sperm cannot reach the egg to fertilize it.


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Chlamydia is symptomless; as a result, it is the most reported sexually transmitted disease. It is transported through sexual contact and affects both partners.

In men, the STD causes infertility by impacting the sperm’s health.

In women, chlamydia-like gonorrhea scars and damages the fallopian tubes and uterus. Untreated chlamydia decreases your chance of getting pregnant and can cause ten to fifteen percent of its female carriers to develop pelvic inflammatory disease.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease can be caused by chlamydia or gonorrhea. The STD bacteria enters through the reproductive tract creating scarring in the fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina, uterus, and ovaries. Untreated PID results in permanent damage to these areas and infertility. Because PID attacks the fallopian tubes, the scarring causes tubal infertility as well.

In women with an STD, pelvic inflammatory disease is a secondary infection. Having untreated STDs will not stop you from getting pregnant. If untreated, the STD can be passed to the baby.


Syphilis, a bacterial infection spread through contact with a syphilis sore or sexual contact.

In males, it causes epididymitis. Once the sperm ducts are scarred, no sperm are released on ejaculation, and erectile dysfunction renders the male infertile

In females who become pregnant while infected with syphilis, there is a fifty percent chance of having a stillbirth or a miscarriage. If untreated, the unborn baby will acquire syphilis.

In men and women, untreated syphilis ravages the body, causing nerve damage and eventually affecting all the organs in your body!

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Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)

The most common cause of HSV (also called herpes) is the HSV-2 virus. It presents as small genital blisters. At the same time, it does not cause infertility directly during outbreaks when the sores are present. Partners need to abstain from sex, making it harder to conceive.

Once a woman is pregnant, a vaginal birth can pass onto the baby and can be life-threatening.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the most common STD in the US. It is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact. A virus causes it, and warts on the genitals are the telltale sign of this STD.

Treatment for genital warts takes months, and sexual contact at this time is to be avoided. This causes a long delay in conceiving. In men, this STD causes infertility due to the infection being persistent and untreated. It can cause genital cancer, thus affecting your fertility.

In women, HPV increases a woman’s chance of precancerous cells and cervical cancer. Removal of these cancerous cells changes the cervical mucous and disrupts fertility.


Trichomoniasis is the only sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. The parasite known as Trichomoniasis Vaginalis is transmitted through sex by an infected partner. In both men and women, it infects the urethra, the tube through which urine exits the body.

In women, it infects the cervix, vagina, and vulva. Once infected, you may experience mild irritation or more serious inflammation.

Summing Up STDs

Untreated STDs and fertility go hand-in-hand. The best way to avoid transmission is to have a conversation with your partner before having sex, using condoms, and having both partners tested prior to having intercourse. Understanding the risks and considerations of STD’s impact on fertility, and can lead to early STD treatment. If you think you have an STD or are symptomatic, seeking immediate medical help could be the difference between conception and infertility!

Are you or someone you know having difficulty conceiving a child? The Fertility Center Mexico offers infertility treatments for males and females. Located on the US/Mexico border, our infertility specialists provide cutting-edge infertility treatment using modern technology. Our bilingual staff is available to answer all your questions and assist you with all needed forms, accommodations, and transportation from the airport. Ask us about sperm freezing cost, IUI in Tijuana, timed intercourse cycle, egg freezing Mexico cost.

All consults start with a contact form, followed by a consultation. To start your fertility journey with The Fertility Center Mexico, contact us today!

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Dr. Jesús Alberto Félix Atondo

Gynecology, Obstetrics and Biology of Human Reproduction Surgeon at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara, specialist Biologist of Human Reproduction by the Mexican Institute of Infertility.

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