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Diabetes and Fertility: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Fertility

Diabetes and Fertility: How Diabetes Can Affect Your Fertility

You’ve have been trying with no luck to get pregnant and have not been able to a find a reason for your infertility. You may have tried a fertility cleanse, begun eating a fertility diet, and are taking all the right supplements and herbs, but are still having trouble conceiving. It may be time to have a simple blood test to determine if your glucose levels are too high.

With the rates of Type II diabetes rising every year in the U.S., more and more infertility specialists are looking toward this health issue as a main cause of some otherwise unexplained infertility cases they see.

According to the American Diabetes Association, there are more than 200,000 new cases of Type II diabetes diagnosed every year, with another 2.4% of the general childbearing population suffering from the disease but not knowing it.

When it comes to diabetes and infertility the answer is clear: there is a connection, unless you factor in the metabolic syndrome and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). No, in many cases (especially among women), diabetes alone does not necessarily keep them from getting pregnant, but it oftentimes keeps them from staying pregnant especially if their glucose control is poor and they’ve had the disease for a long time. In many cases, say fertility doctors of the Endoworld Hospital in Aurangabad, India “a woman with higher than normal glucose levels can get pregnant month after month. Unfortunately her diabetes status prevents that embryo from implanting in the uterus, causing a miscarriage before she ever realizes she is pregnant.” High glucose levels are reported to increase a woman’s chances of miscarriage by 30-60% according to statistics released by the American Diabetes Association.

Even when implantation does occur, there are other risks to consider, including:

  • An increased risk of birth defects due to damage caused to embryonic cells form the high levels of glucose in the blood
  • a larger baby resulting in a c-section, which increases a mother’s chances of infection
  • An increased risk of gestational diabetes in the mother, which can cause other health concerns for both mother and baby

When Glucose Levels Are Too High

In addition to keeping an embryo from implanting, glucose levels that are too high can also affect hormone levels throughout the body including the all-important estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels needed for a pregnancy to occur. That is why glucose control is so vital to your fertility.

Types of Diabetes

Most people know how dangerous Type I diabetes can be. In most cases this type of diabetes actually destroys the insulin producing cells in the body, making it necessary to supplement insulin through daily injections. When it comes to diabetes and pregnancy, this is the most dangerous type of diabetes to have for both mother and child.

Type II diabetes, or an inability of the body to produce enough insulin to keep up with glucose levels in the bloodstream, is the most common type of diabetes now experienced in the U.S., and can often be controlled with dietary changes and an increase in exercise. (Do a search for Dr. Gabriel Cousins who has actually cured diabetes through diet changes). Although wrought with its own negative effects, Type II diabetes can be controlled and side effects limited, making a pregnancy safer.

Controlling Your Diabetes

When it comes to controlling their diabetes in order to attain a healthy pregnancy, most doctors urge women to plan ahead for a pregnancy by doing the following:

  • Get their weight to a normal level (the more obese you are, the harder it will be to control your glucose levels and your estrogen levels will be high that can impact fertility). This is because fat has an enzyme that converts an androgen to an estrogen.
  • Get your A1C levels below 6.5 before attempting to get pregnant
  • Controlling your daily sugar levels for 3-6 months (the longer the better) to give your body the chance to prepare for a pregnancy

Diabetes in Men

Men too can experience infertility issues due to high glucose levels. For some retrograde ejaculation, where semen backs up into the bladder, making it impossible to get to the woman’s reproductive organs, becomes a problem, as does erectile dysfunction caused by both the diabetes itself as well as medications which may be used to control it.

Still, there is one, more dangerous reproductive side effect to diabetes in men: DNA damage. According to research released y Dr. Ishola Agbaje of the Reproductive Research Group at Queen’s University in Belfast, diabetes can and does cause serious DNA damage to sperm which can inhibit a pregnancy, live birth and even healthy, normal fetus. Among the results of the study include that:

  • Diabetic men have much lower semen levels (just 2.6 compared to 3.3 ml in their non-diabetic counterparts).
  • The nuclear DNA in diabetic man’s sperm cells was higher (52 per cent versus 32 per cent).
  • There were more deletions in the mitochondrial DNA of diabetic men’s sperm cells than those of the non-diabetic men.
  • The mitochondrial DNA deletions in the diabetic men’s sperm cells ranged from 3 to 6 and averaged 4, while for the non-diabetic men it ranged from 1 to 4 and averaged 3.

What does all this mean? Simply put, a diabetic man who does not control his glucose levels has less of a chance of impregnating his partner and when he does the risk of miscarriage and deformities are much higher.

Should Diabetic Partners Try and Conceive At All?

All of this may leave diabetic partners wondering if it is even safe to try and get pregnant at all. While it is important to understand the risks involved in high glucose levels and fertility, it is also important to understand that simply controlling your glucose levels, and getting (and keeping them) at a more normal level will reduce these risks and offer the opportunity for a safe pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. The key to success, of course, is working with your endocrinologist and obstetrician to ensure that your glucose levels remain stable months before trying to conceive as well as during a pregnancy. With a good plan and dedication to eating right and staying healthy, your chances of giving birth are very high, despite a diabetes diagnosis.


Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Kimberly Langdon Cull is a University-trained Obstetrician/Gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She delivered over 2000 babies and specializes in gynecologic diseases such as menstrual disorders, infertility diagnosis and treatment especially pertaining to tubal blockage and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Dr. Langdon is the inventor of 6 patent pending medical devices, and attended Ohio State University from 1987-1995 receiving her Medical Doctorate Degree (M.D.) with Honors in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

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  1. Avatar

    Hello. me and my husband is 28 years old and we have been trying for a baby from last 3 years. and he is affected with diabetes from last one year and he is having low sperm count 1.5M is there any chances for having baby?

    • Dear Bhavni,

      I am sorry you are faced with this challenge. There are likely to be chances indeed if your husband is able to make dietary and lifestyle changes to support his health. Have hope!

  2. Avatar

    i am 33 years old i reacently diagnosed with type 2 diabetis and my HBA1C is 9.9 if i get mammried ,can i able to get make my wife pregnent or not

    • Dear Neta,

      It will certainly be beneficial to work to support your body in being healthy both natural (through diet and exercise, etc.) and medication if your doctor feels that you need it prior to trying to conceive.

      The best way to know if your fertility has been impacted, is to talk to your doctor who may suggest a semen analysis to view sperm health, etc. I am not able to know if you will be able to get your wife pregnant.

  3. Avatar

    i was 27 yrs old i have uncontrolled sugar level my HBAIC was 11.1, now my wife have been pregnant and 8 weeks finished if there any chance my baby have any problem?

    • Dear Chandrasekaran,

      To my knowledge,it is unlikely that your child will have been affected by your diabetes or the medication you used, but do talk to your wife’s doctor about your concerns.

  4. Avatar

    Hi, if my blood sugars are typically very well controlled but I do have days when I can’t bring my blood sugar down, can that affect my chances of getting pregnant? It typically happens on the last day of using my pump when the insulin has stopped working as well but I can’t change my site til I get home…so I worry that the one day of high blood sugars will affect conception, even though my A1C has been between 6.0 – 6.5% for years. Please advise?

    • Dear Becca,

      This is a wonderful question that is truthfully beyond my scope of knowledge. If levels are managed well across the board and your cycle and ovulation each month are regular, then I wouldn’t think this one day would be cause for too much concern. I would consider talking to your doctor or pharmacist about this for sure.

  5. Avatar

    I am 29 years old and i have been diabetic for 3 years……I am trying to conceive for 1 year with uncontrol sugar levels….Now my sugar levels are in control from 2 to 3 months……I have only one ovary as well…. what will be the chances??? can i get pregnant???

    • Dear Anum,

      It’s great that you have your blood sugar levels under control. Keep up with the dietary and lifestyle changes you have made to support that!

      I wish I could know or offer chances of pregnancy for you. I do not know that for anyone!

      It will be important now to consider learning how to detect ovulation, as shared here… Knowing when to actively try to conceive each cycle/month will be helpful and learning how to detect ovulation form your ovary is how you know this.

      My best to you!

  6. Avatar

    Hi I’m 38 and haven’t gotten pregnant since I was in my 20’s which I lost the baby. Do you think I can’t have any kids since I haven’t got pregnant since. Plus my ACL is at 7.7 right now.

    • Dear Tamika,

      I’m sorry to hear of your loss and years of struggle! Have you had fertility testing to learn what is preventing natural conception? Perhaps so given you know your ACL number… antoi-cardiolipin antibody (ACL). Dis your doctor share that 7.7 is of concern? If not, do ask him/her this.

      Truthfully, I am not able to know if you will conceive naturally. I get asked this so often and certainly wish I could know, but can’t. I do want you to have hope though!

  7. Avatar

    Hello. My husband is 33 years old and we hav been trying for a baby for a year with no luck. his sugar levels is mostly high. we hav a 6 year old child which we got before he got diagnosed with diabetes. he is diabetic for 3 years now. what sholud we do to check if we can have other children??

    • Hello!

      I am sorry to hear you are worried! It will be best to discuss with his doctor the implications of diabetes on his fertility health. There are tests your husband’s doctor can run to look at his sperm production and health.

      I hope working with his doctor proves helpful!

  8. Avatar

    I am 24 now and my husband is 32. He is diabetic (for 15 years). We’ve been married for two years, so can we have a healthy baby?

    • Dear Mamta,

      Conception may happen and the health of the baby is not something I can know, but there can be fertility health complications for men with diabetes, as well as risks for the pregnancy. We feel men with diabetes should highly consider working to control their glucose levels prior to trying to conceive.

  9. Avatar

    I have a three year old daughter with whom I got pregnant with easily and with minimal complications. Now my husband and I have been trying for almost a year to have another baby and it’s not working, My blood sugar is out of control. My last HA1c was in the 11’s :(. I am worried I wont be able to have another kid. I am only 23 years old my husband is 35.

  10. Avatar

    I am 27 and suffering from diabetes for the last 2years. In November I’ll get married. What should I do?

    • Dear Rahul,

      Making dietary changes is key! Consider learning more about a Fertility Diet and working one on one with a practitioner who can help you.

      We are more than happy to work with you! You may want to book a Fertility Consultation. Working with our fertility herbalist allows her to lay out an entire natural fertility program for you based on your specific fertility health needs.

      I hope you will consider!

  11. Avatar

    i am 54 yrs. old diabetic male. suffering from diabetese from last 17yrs. i have got married to a young partner just 3 months can i get a child

    • Dear Arvind,

      Congratulations on your marriage! While the information here may be helpful, please work one on one with a healthcare provider near you to best guide you. There are a variety of factors involved that we can not guide you best via the internet.

      I hope you are able to reach out to your healthcare provider for guidance.

  12. Avatar

    My wife conceived and we came to know the same after 8 weeks. Here on 9th week her test of hab1c is 6.5… How much is the risk factor on the birth defect please?
    We are very tensed, especially my wife…

    • Dear Debashish,

      I am sorry this is causing so much concern. It is going to be best for you to ask this and all of your questions of her healthcare provider. He/she is best able to discuss these test results and also help you know how to best care for her health and the babies health thru this pregnancy.

      All my best to you!

  13. Avatar


    I am 33 yr old female, got married 3 years ago and have no children as of now. I have been diagnosed type 2 last august. At that time my pp was 399 !! No family history of diabetes, nothing. Was a shock for me !! However I started taking medicines, controlled my diet and exercised regularly and did a lot of yoga. Last month my Hba1c was 5.4 and pp 126 !! :))
    We have been trying to have a baby. Do you think it is the right time for me? Or should iI wait? I am a little bit stressed too as I am nearing 35! Please help.

    • Dear Rachel,

      How wonderful that this hard work has paid off. Changes to diet and lifestyle prove time and again to be beneficial for so many. Way to go!

      I am not sure I can answer your question though. There are a variety of factors even beyond health, although this a critical piece to the conception journey, that many take into consideration when preparing to begin to try to conceive. In terms of having Type II Diabetes and wanting to conceive, it is suggested that weight and sugar levels be managed for several months and A1C levels be below 6.5 before attempting to get pregnant, as I am sure you read here.

      All my best to you as you begin your journey toward conception!

  14. Avatar

    sir, i am a 22 year old boy .i am affected with diabetes from the age of 16 . i want to know whether i can get child or not after my marriage .what are things to care more to live for more years and to get childs,please help me .
    yours faithfully

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Dear Safeer,

      Thank you for reaching out to us! It is wonderful that you are educating yourself and working to get this under control at a young age.

      This article will offer great insight on what to speak with your healthcare provider about and how you might naturally support your body.

      Best wishes!

  15. Hello, I would like to subscribe for this
    weblog to take most recent updates, therefore where can i do it please help.

  16. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  17. Avatar

    I,m type 2 male patient can i have children

    • I am not sure if you will be able to conceive based on only knowing you are a type 2 diabetic. I just don’t have enough information. If you are concerned how your health care issues may be impacting your ability to conceive, you may want to talk to your doctor about this.

  18. Avatar

    I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes recently i am 31 year old
    male can i get married and have normal childre.?

  19. Avatar

    i have type 1 diabetis with my sugars averging about 10-14 which i know is not good. i have recently got my girlfriend pregnant and am worried this may have an affect on our baby?
    Could you give me any advice? thanks Kyle

  20. Avatar

    My husband have bee type 2 diabetic since about 1 year with a A1c reading of around 7 or 8 – can we try for 2nd baby

  21. Avatar

    Hi me and my spouse are wanting a baby I can have kids buy I’m a type 2 n he has been sniped for years and I’m just wondering what are chances are and if the cost is reasonable thanks

  22. Avatar

    I’m a Diabetic man with type 1 my girlfriend had our baby, but he was very large did she get Gestational Diabetes due to my having it? I have one other thing her mom is a type 2 Diabetic and my girlfriend is a little overweight not a lot. The baby needed to be taken to a children’s hospital near where I live to they are checking his heart and said they were looking at his breathing too.

    • Hi Mike,

      You having diabetes had nothing to do with your wife developing gestational diabetes. She had 2 risk factors for gestational diabetes, being overweight and a family history of type 2 diabetes. She now has those risk factors plus 1; she had a large baby. So now she is at higher risk for developing gestational diabetes with her next pregnancy. This can be controlled through diet changes. Please have her talk to her doctor about the best diet changes for her situation.

      Congratulations on your new baby!


  23. Avatar

    i m 24yr old and type II diabetic due to excessive use of codeine and alprazolam my wife 22 is completely healthy can we get a healthy baby since i came to know i m diabetic i left all intoxicates but having anti depressants plz help?

    • Hi Sam xavior,

      As long as you keep your diabetes under control and your antidepressants are not affecting your fertility, there should be no reason you cannot go on to have a healthy baby.

      Best Wishes,


  24. Avatar

    Hi There

    My partner is type 1 diabetic with a A1c reading of around 8 or 9 – If we were lucky to conveice could this high reading affect the babys chance of surving?


  25. Avatar

    I’m a 35 year old male and have been type II diabetic for about 10 years. I recently got married and we are wanting to try to start a family. I believe I have retrograde ejaculation. For about a year I’ve been having issues where either I have dry orgasm or when I do have ejaculation it doesn’t shoot out like I am used to seeing. Is there a way to reverse this?

    Thank you.

    • Hi David,

      Diabetes can cause retrograde ejaculation due to nerve damage. One way you can tell that retrograde ejaculation is happening, is if your urine is cloudy. Instead of the semen exiting as it should, it is then passed to the bladder and exits during urination. Honestly I have never had to treat anyone for this condition, so I cannot say what may be best for you to do. It would be a good idea, if you are interested in natural methods of healing, to find a naturopathic physician in your area. A medical doctor can also help you to determine what the exact problem may be and perhaps suggest some supportive ideas. Surgery or some medications may be suggested. You will want to consider supporting your sperm health in the mean time. This is because over time, as the semen is not exiting properly, it may damage sperm health. Our men’s fertility guide has some great tips!

      Best Wishes,


  26. My husband, 32 is type 1 diabetic and I am 41. We have a six year old girl who has congenial heart complication. Himself and his family doubted his condition, I pushed him one day to see a doctor, and unfortunately we found out that he has been dragging on with this condition without any treatment by his age 31. Now, my daughter’s congenial heart condition me concerned, thinking about the cause. Both sides, me or my husband have no family history of a baby born with a heart problem. It do not want to blame or be mad at my husband or anything, but I wish to put an end to my pain that has been lingering back in my mind all along. Is it his damaged DNA?, his treatment began just last year. Please, help me to bring peace to me.

    • Hi Minaclaire,

      I am sorry to hear of your difficult situation. Whenever there is something that causes us pain or difficulty, it is natural to want to “blame” someone or something for the cause. Honestly your daughter has a heart condition, you cannot go back in time and change that. You are wasting your love and energy on worry, doubt, resentment and fear of the “what if”. There is no way to know right now if your husband’s diabetes contributed to your daughters heart condition or not. At this point all you can do is commit to supporting your loved ones as best you can, loving them to no end. Dwelling on what could have been or what if, does not bring about healing. Take what you have learned and go from here, to make better decisions for your future. Give your husband and daughter a big hug!

      Best Wishes,


  27. Avatar

    I am diabetic and I don’ have any children but I am trying my best to keep my blood sugar at a normal level.However, I am not having a easy time with it and I am so easily depress. I am on insulin for the past 3 yrs and I was hoping that I would have gotten pregnant already but no such luck.

    • Hi Sheron,

      I am sorry to hear of your health issues. You may want to talk to a nutritionist in your area to help you make a diet plan, changing your diet may greatly help your chances of a successful pregnancy.

      Keep your head up!