The link between STIs and fertility – How chlamydia and gonorrhea affect fertility
Some patients have questions about STIs and fertility. They want to know if sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can affect their fertility. When you visit a Las Vegas fertility doctor at The Fertility Center of Las Vegas (FCLV), you will learn the answer is yes.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common and preventable causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. For example, untreated chlamydia will cause PID in about 10-15% of women, which can block the fallopian tubes and cause infertility. Gonorrhea can cause similar problems. However, women may not realize they have an infection because these STIs often do not cause symptoms in women.
Exploring sexually transmitted infections during the diagnostic process
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are the most common preventable causes of infertility in the United States and the world. Not everyone who contracts one of these STIs will develop infertility. However, a history of chlamydia or gonorrhea or an active infection will raise fertility concerns for your Las Vegas fertility doctor. For this reason, our team takes a medical history and performs infectious disease testing as part of the diagnostic process.
If testing reveals that you have an infection, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to treat it before moving forward with treatment for STIs and fertility. They may also recommend treating your partner to avoid reinfection. If you have had chlamydia or gonorrhea in the past, your doctor will order a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to see whether your fallopian tubes are open.
Even if you’re HSG testing looks good, you could still have damage to the delicate hairs in your fallopian tubes that allow the sperm and egg to move through the tubes. This situation increases the risk of infertility or experiencing an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
STIs and fertility – What treatments are available?
Although it might be discouraging to learn about the link between STIs and fertility issues, each Las Vegas fertility doctor at our practice is generally hopeful about the outcome in these cases. Infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea primarily affect the fallopian tubes, not more important fertility factors like the uterus and egg and sperm quality. As a result, the following treatments can often help patients conceive.
- Our doctors will typically recommend in vitro fertilization (IVF) for patients with a history of chlamydia and gonorrhea because it is the best way to bypass blocked tubes.
- If a woman doesn’t appear to have blocked tubes or only one is blocked, she may be able to proceed with intrauterine insemination (IUI) if she receives careful medical monitoring to avoid an ectopic pregnancy.
Finding an Oasis of Hope in the face of STIs and infertility
The FCLV team offers compassionate care and highly effective treatments to help women and men grow their families. Each Las Vegas fertility doctor at our clinic has experience helping patients overcome many barriers to conception, including STIs and fertility issues. Contact us to learn more.