Patient Resources

How Diabetes Affects Male Fertility & How IVF Can Help

There are some conditions related to male infertility that are more likely with diabetes, particularly diabetes that has not been well-controlled or that has been present for many years. Some of the issues that can cause infertility in men include the following:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Retrograde ejaculation
  • Reduced sperm quality
  • Hypogonadism (low testosterone)

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is commonly associated with diabetes, causing difficulty getting or maintaining an erection. It occurs as a result of reduced blood circulation, typically due to less well-controlled diabetes or long-standing diabetes, and neuropathy (nerve damage). High levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol are associated with increased risk of erectile difficulty. 

Delayed Ejaculation

Ejaculation problems can occur if nerves in the penis become damaged. Lack of nerve sensitivity can affect the ability to ejaculate. It can also be caused or influenced by psychological problems, age, and certain medications. IVF can help with treating infertility if conception via intercourse is an issue.

Retrograde Ejaculation

Retrograde ejaculation may result from neuropathy. It occurs if nerves can not control the muscles of the bladder from closing at the point of ejaculation, causing the semen to enter the bladder rather than exiting through the penis. This does not cause health problems, but it can affect conception. Sperm can be collected and used via assisted reproduction technology if you are trying to conceive.

Reduced Sperm Quality

Diabetes can lead to reduced sperm quality, but it does not appear to affect the motility of sperm or cause infertility as a result. There is also evidence that suggests that obesity is associated with reduced sperm concentration.


Studies show that about 1 in 4 men with type 2 diabetes have low testosterone levels, known as hypogonadism. This can lead to problems that can reduce fertility, like having a low sperm count, erectile dysfunction, and a decreased sex drive.


The North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine/Talbert Fertility Institute is the premiere center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestation Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today.

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