Dealing with erectile dysfunction (ED) in your relationship can be difficult, especially if you’re trying to get pregnant. It’s one thing to struggle to have sex, but it can make it difficult to raise your family and not feel helpless. Aside from the emotional toll it can take on you and your significant other, you’re probably wrestling with a list of questions, like can you get pregnant if your husband has erectile dysfunction? How does erectile dysfunction affect fertility?
While this may be a confusing and frustrating time, it’s helpful to know that pregnancy is still possible. Seeing erectile dysfunction and pregnancy side by side may seem like it can’t lead to a fruitful conclusion, but you aren’t the first to deal with this and there are answers.
Two fertility specialists share their suggestions for couples.
What is erectile dysfunction?
Erectile dysfunction refers to the inability or inability to erect a sexy erection.
“It can have neurological, vascular, hormonal, or psychological origins,” says Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, M.D. a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist. ED is possible by the following:
- Depression and anxiety
- High blood pressure
- Some medications to treat depression, high blood pressure, allergies, and other conditions
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Being overweight
About 30 million U.S. men have ED. And although it’s more common among men who are middle-aged (over 45) and older, it still happens among the younger male population.
But don’t jump to conclusions if your husband has the occasional trouble getting an erection. If you’re concerned, he can see a urologist to be tested for ED.
Do erectile dysfunction drugs affect fertility?
“Contrary to what one might think, it’s widely considered that erectile dysfunction drugs positively affect a man’s fertility for the simple reason that he can get an erection and have the chance to conceive,” Dr. Peter Rizk, M.D., OB-GYN, and fertility expert tells Romper.
And contrary to a common misconception, having ED doesn’t automatically mean your husband has a low sperm count.
“Erectile dysfunction, if hormonal, meaning endocrine in nature, may be associated with decreased sperm concentration. Otherwise, sperm count may be normal,” Kenigsberg says. Which will definitely give you more options when you’re trying to get pregnant.
“Because one in five couples experience fertility issues, and in nearly half of those couples the male partner is the cause, it’s smart to do everything you can to support sperm health,” Rizk tells Romper. He advises that men take an antioxidant-based fertility-specific supplement to their daily health routine.
What are your options for getting pregnant if you have ED?
Although ED can make it difficult to get pregnant, there are still options available that will help you grow your family.
Other than medication, you can choose to be inseminated (a medical procedure to place sperm in the uterus) with your husband’s sperm, according to Kenigsberg. You can also have his sperm frozen so it can be available when you’re ready to start your process of insemination.
“Men should talk to their urologist and fertility specialist to find the right fertility treatment plan for them,” says Rizk.
Getting an ED diagnosis can be scary, but it doesn’t have to totally thwart your family plans. There are options for treatment and it is possible to become pregnant.
Dr. Daniel Kenigsberg, M.D. Board-certified reproductive endocrinologist
Dr. Peter Rizk,M.D., OB-GYN