From Troy, Ohio, USA:
My 22 year old boyfriend has had type 2 diabetes for three years and has not taken great care of himself. He has visited the hospital twice because of blood sugars over 500 mg/dl [27.8 mmol/L]. I get so frustrated that he does not take care of himself. He does not follow any kind of diet. He eats sweets and drinks often. He is supposed to take insulin twice a day, but there have been times when he has put insulin aside and bought other things so he has been out of insulin frequently.
He has no known sores and his eyesight seems to be fine, but we have been having unprotected sex for quite some time and nothing has happened. I am not trying to become pregnant, but it has been many months since protection has been used, and I have been tested so I know that it is not me. When I was fifteen and he was 17, I became pregnant by him and had an abortion. This is how I know that there is a current problem. If we wanted to have children now or when we get married, I am worried that we cannot. If you have diabetes and you do not take care of yourself can this make you sterile?
Your question is very complex and cannot be answered in a yes or no format. Rather, we need to talk about all the issues that could impact fertility, in addition to diabetes. The most commonly described issue related to diabetes and sexuality is the development of erectile dysfunction. This develops as a manifestation of the nerves being involved from diabetes. It is related to control and duration of disease. I would point to other issues that might be impacting fertility. For instance, is alcohol a problem? Are there other male factors which decrease sperm count? These changes can occur in men without diabetes. Poor control of diabetes is not good. However, poor control over a relatively short period of time (three years) does not totally explain the situation. I would recommend that your boyfriend be evaluated if this is an issue.
Original posting 26 Mar 2001
Posted to Complications
Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:20
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