Q: How do STIs impact fertility in men and women?
A: It depends which STI is caught.
In women, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause an infection in the uterus and fallopian tubes, leading to hydrosalpinx. Damage to the fallopian tubes can mean there might be a delay in getting pregnant and blocked fallopian tubes can result in infertility. HPV (human papillomavirus) doesn’t cause fertility issues.
In men, STIs don’t have any significant impact on fertility (except they can transfer an STI to female partners).
HIV doesn’t cause fertility problems itself (but problems arise if one partner is infected and the other is not – in this case, steps should be taken to minimise transmission, such as through IVF). See our article about HIV here.
It’s important to regularly get checked for STIs, particularly if you or your partner(s) change sexual partners. Whilst gonorrhea is typically symptomatic, chlamydia can be asymptomatic.