Many health conditions can affect a woman’s fertility. Certain sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia, have been known to cause infertility because they can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Can Human Papillomavirus (HPV) cause women to have a hard time becoming pregnant? Here are some of the things that all women should know about the link between HPV and fertility.
The Link Between HPV and Infertility
No medical evidence suggests that Human Papillomavirus is directly linked to infertility. Most women who have the STD will not experience any difficulties becoming pregnant. However, it is important to keep in mind that the type of HPV that a woman has and the damage which it causes can be the determining factors of whether or not the STD will lead to fertility problems.
There are many strains of the Human Papillomavirus, which can either cause genital warts or cervical cell changes which have the potential to lead to cancer. In most cases, women experience either genital warts or very mild cervical cell changes. When there are significant cervical cell changes which require treatment, the individual will need to undergo treatment. The treatments for cervical cancer can lead to fertility problems, but pregnancy is usually still an option.
It is rare for HPV to progress into cervical cancer, as long as the woman has routine Pap smears. In the unlikely event that it does occur and is not treated early enough, some women may choose to have hysterectomies – in which case, getting pregnant in the future will not be possible.
HPV’s Effect on Fertility Treatments
Women who had pre-existing conditions which cause infertility may wish to seek fertility treatments, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). According to Jennifer Warner in her WebMD article, women with HPV were half as likely to experience success becoming pregnant when they tried IVF. The study showed that only 23.5 percent of women with HPV became pregnant, in comparison to the 57 percent of women who did not have HPV and became pregnant. While there is still a chance that you could become pregnant using IVF, the chance is significantly lower if you have HPV.
HPV Treatments and Pregnancy
While Human Papillomavirus generally does not cause infertility, it may be ideal for women who have recently become diagnosed with the STD to wait before becoming pregnant. According to the University of Hawaii System, women may want to think about treating HPV before they become pregnant. That said, cryosurgery is considered a safe treatment for the STD during pregnancy.
If you have any concerns about becoming pregnant, the best thing that you can do is talk to your doctor. While it is generally safe to say that you should be able to get pregnant if you have HPV, every individual’s circumstances are different.
Baby Center, “Will having HPV affect my chances of getting pregnant?”
University of Hawaii System, “A Patient Guide: HPV in Perspective” (PDF).
Web MD, “HPV May Hamper Infertility Treatment.”