Can Erectile Dysfunction cause Infertility?

6 minutes

What is Erectile dysfunction?

Erectile dysfunction which is also know as impotence is an inability to get a strong enough erection for sexual intercourse. The severity of erectile dysfunction will range from a total loss of erection to a partial erection that is inadequate to penetrate or that is lost shortly after penetration. Though ED is usually more prevalent in older men, it can happen at any age.

Erectile dysfunction can be treated at any age, although the prevalence of erectile dysfunction is more prevalent with aging, but should not be considered a normal aspect of aging. There may be health or medical problems in older men that lead to ED, including a number of disabilities, physical injuries, or prescribed drug side effects. Psychological factors and certain life choices such as smoking, obesity, stress, anxiety, guilt, and fear of poor sexual performance can all contribute to ED.

What is infertility?

Infertility is a disease characterized by the failure to establish a clinical pregnancy after 12 months of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse or due to an impairment of a person’s capacity to reproduce either as an individual or with his/her partner.

A woman is considered to be infertile if she has tried for 1 year to get pregnant and hasn’t used any contraception or birth control . If a man has too few sperm or his sperm are too unhealthy to combine with a woman’s egg then he is considered to be infertile. It can also be the result of low sperm production, abnormalities in the sperm, or blockages in the sperm delivery system in men.

Some of the symptoms of male infertility include swelling in the testicles, man boobs, decreased body hair which is a sign of hormone imbalance and difficulty in ejaculation.

Erectile dysfunction(Impotence) and infertility

Impotence and infertility are two different things which are usually confused between each other. One is considered to be infertile if he can’t father a child and impotence means that one is not able to attain or maintain an erection for a possible conception. 

Erectile dysfunction may definitely lead to male infertility as it gets in the way of ejaculation, as it is essential for the sperm to penetrate the vaginal canal and reach for the egg of the woman in order to conceive. Infertility itself, on the other hand, can cause anxiety and even depression, which also leads to ED. 

In addition, conceiving pressures can lead to performance anxiety, which can prohibit a man from getting an erection. So, as you can see, erectile dysfunction and infertility are closely twined together as one can cause the other to develop.

About half of all infertile couples suffer from one or more compromised factors in the male partner, including ED. For this reason, during the initial evaluation, the male partner will be tested for sperm production and health, including sperm count, motility and morphology; semen volume and viscosity, and white blood cell count. Physical abnormalities are also looked for.

How to increase chances of getting pregnant?

People believe that there is some connection between pregnancy and sex positions. Some positions, such as the missionary, which deliver the sperm nearest to the cervix is believed to be best for pregnancy, although it has not been shown if this increases the likelihood of becoming pregnant. Timing intercourse properly during ovulation is more important than focusing on the position when trying to get pregnant.

Basically, when it comes to getting pregnant, having intercourse more often is not necessarily going to increase the chances of conceiving. Women are fertile only five to 10 days during their monthly cycle i.e just before and during ovulation. Having intercourse at other times during the monthly cycle will not lead to pregnancy.

In addition, having sex several times per week can actually lower sperm count and decrease the chances of getting pregnant. To increase the chances of getting pregnant, a couple should have sex a few days before ovulation and then on the day of ovulation, and limit sexual activity other times during this fertile time period. 

Treating the condition

Erectile dysfunction can be treated with medication, psychological therapy, or vacuum devices. Surgical implantation of an inflatable prosthesis is also an option. During this procedure, a device that simulates erection is used in pumping fluid from a reservoir into inflatable tubes in the penis.

No matter what type of ED a man suffers, the first step is to go to the doctor, and the earlier, the better. ED can have a profound effect on relationships because the men must admit to their partner that they have a problem and have to seek help. If a man is unhealthy and has not exerted himself, sexual activity can be a risky exertion.

There are many ways to treat impotence. The first line of therapy consists of lifestyle changes. Sometimes, the cause may be a prescription drug, so a new medication may be necessary.

Infertility, on the other hand, could have hormonal roots or there could be structural deformations leading to lower sperm count or poor sperm motility. Fertility treatments with assisted conception techniques like In vitro fertilization or IVF are the best bet.

Does Erectile dysfunction affect sperm count?

The Sperm count and getting an erection are two different functions within the body, so one does not directly affect the other. So the simple answer to the question is NO, erectile dysfunction does not affect sperm count.

Men diagnosed with ED may get demoralized if they assume that the problems they are having with getting or maintaining an erection during sexual intercourse may make them incapable of impregnating their partner as well.

A man may have problems getting or maintaining an erection but still be able to produce perfectly good sperm at a normal concentration. Conversely, a man may be able to get and maintain an erection during sexual intercourse but have little or no sperm in his semen.

That said, a man with ED who produces a normal concentration of sperm may have difficulties delivering his semen inside the woman he wants to get pregnant. Fortunately, ED is treatable.


Sexual dysfunction and infertility are issues that many individuals fear talking about, but to resolve them, partners need to approach them face to face. It is important for you and your wife to discuss your thoughts and speak to your healthcare provider as well. Your doctor may recognize the root causes of these two conditions and may prescribe medication appropriately. 

Certain fertility issues, e.g., those related to bad semen quality or low sperm count, can be improved with supplements or medication. While therapy to boost testosterone levels can enhance sexual function, it is contraindicated in men trying to conceive. Meanwhile, a penile injection is available to treat men with Peyronie’s disease.

Psychological therapy and lifestyle changes such as quitting cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs, eating healthy, and exercising may also help improve sexual function and reproductive abilities.