How Prostate Problems Affect Pregnancy

By Sara Ipatenco
Woman reading pregnancy test while laying on couch
Woman reading pregnancy test while laying on couch

One-third of infertility cases don't have a known cause while another one-third are caused by women's problems, according to WomensHealth.gov. The final one-third are caused by men's problems. Prostate problems, for example, can impair a man's ability to produce and ejaculate healthy sperm that are able to fertilize an egg.

Prostate Infection

Prostatitis, or infection of the prostate, can interfere with fertility, according to Harvard Medical School. The infection can change the quality of ejaculate, which can make conception more difficult. For example, the ejaculate might not contain viable sperm. This occurs because urological infections, such as prostatitis, cause inflammation, which has the potential to decrease the quality of sperm, according to a 2012 article published in the "World Journal of Urology." Abnormal sperm aren't as likely to inseminate an egg, causing difficulty getting pregnant.

Medications for Prostate Problems

Men who take medications to treat prostate problems can have a harder time impregnating their partner. For example, some medications that men take to treat an enlarged prostate can cause erectile dysfunction. Certain medications can make it more difficult for a man to ejaculate and others can decrease the amount of ejaculate, which means there is less sperm that can potentially fertilize an egg. Most of these effects will disappear if a man stops taking the medication, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

TURP and Semen

Some men have a surgical procedure called transurethral resection of the prostate, or TURP, to treat an enlarged prostate. Between 50 and 75 percent of men who have had the surgery have retrograde ejaculation, which means that the semen they ejaculate actually goes into the bladder instead of coming out of the penis, according to the Healthline website. While the condition isn't dangerous to men, it can interfere with conception. The surgery can also make it more difficult for a man to have an erection.

What To Do

If you and your partner are having trouble getting pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor or a fertility specialist. If your physician suspects that prostate problems are to blame, he'll run tests to determine the specific problem. Men with prostate problems can still father children and prostate function isn't always tied to fertility, according to the MedlinePlus website. In fact, a man can still father children even if his prostate has been removed.

About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.