Diabetes can affect your chances to conceive. But can IVF help?

Published on: 1 January 2022, 13:30 pm IST
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a popular option for those who have fertility issues. But is it a good option for those with diabetes?
Dr Suparna Bhattacharya
Diabetes and hypertension can lead to kidney ailments! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Diabetes can affect your ability to conceive, causing infertility. It is also linked to issues in the quality of sperms and eggs, leading to failure in conception. Therefore, if you want to conceive, it is important to control high sugar levels.

How does diabetes impact fertility?

Uncontrolled sugar levels can affect fertility among both men and women. For women, diabetes may result in irregular menstrual cycles, leading to complications during conception. Even if women conceive, they are at a high risk of developing gestational diabetes. If gestational diabetes is not managed well, the baby’s health can be at risk.

High sugar levels also lead to miscarriages, stillbirths, and chromosomal abnormalities among babies. Diabetes also causes reduced libido or sex drive due to anxiety and stress. Due to less vaginal lubrication, women may also suffer from pain during sex. Issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism can also result in diabetes, which causes problems in conceiving naturally.

Among males, diabetes can cause erectile dysfunction and low sperm count. The quality of the sperm also gets affected, along with reduced levels of testosterone.

Even if the couple decides to go for fertility treatment, instead of conceiving naturally, they will have to manage their blood sugar levels to increase the chances of success.

Considering the IVF treatment route for pregnancy, are you? Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Managing diabetes before IVF: Counselling before the cycle begins

Couples with diabetes can conceive provided their sugar levels are maintained. Therefore, fertility doctors can counsel them regarding this before beginning the cycle.

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) experts usually recommend starting the cycle after managing sugar levels. They advise them to go to an endocrinologist who specializes in the issue. The specialists can recommend several ways to manage diabetes to ensure the success of the IVF cycle. The session with the endocrinologist will include reviewing diabetes management to ensure optimum sugar levels, before starting the IVF cycle. Other factors like diabetes-related complications, current health status, and current medications will also be reviewed.

The specialist can prescribe anti-diabetic medications, which are proved to be effective, but only if they do not affect pregnancy. Women also must take doses of folic acid supplements to keep blood sugar levels in control. The process of managing diabetes will take approximately 2-6 months, depending on the individual.

Managing diabetes during the IVF cycle

During the cycle, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is done. The mother is advised to follow a proper diet and take prescribed medications to manage sugar levels. The risks of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature delivery, preeclampsia, possibilities of a C-section, etc., can further increase if the woman is diabetic. It is important that advice given by the endocrinologist and your fertility specialist are followed to get your blood sugar level under control.

Ways to control diabetes

Both men and women can follow a few steps to control diabetes naturally before starting any fertility treatment. Some ways are:

Keep checking your sugar levels. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Good diet

Having a proper diet and eating the right food can help in reducing the impact of diabetes. Food should be rich in nutrition and include fruits and vegetables, which will help control blood sugar levels. Dietitians can help in customizing meals for people who suffer from diabetes.

2. Reduce stress

Cortisol, a stress hormone, increases blood sugar levels with high-stress levels. Therefore, both men and women should control stress levels to improve the chances of conception.

3. Follow a healthy lifestyle

Proper weight management and doing physical exercises regularly can keep diabetes in control. Hormonal imbalances caused due to a bad lifestyle and fertility issues can lead to obesity. Men and women should check their blood sugar levels before and after exercising.

If you wish to receive IVF treatment, connect with an IVF expert who can help you plan a pregnancy with diabetes. Their guidance ensures proper management of diabetes, to have a healthy pregnancy, and positive outcomes of fertility treatment.

There have been diabetic patients who have gone for IVF and successfully conceived through strict and vigilant control of their sugar levels.

Dr Suparna Bhattacharya

Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility East, Uttam Kumar Sarani, Kolkata

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