Involuntary infertility often can be prevented. Providers can:

  • Counsel clients about STI prevention (see Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV, Preventing Sexually Transmitted Infections). Encourage clients to seek treatment as soon as they think they might have an STI or might have been exposed.
  • Treat or refer clients with signs and symptoms of STIs and clinical PID (see Sexually Transmitted Infections, Including HIV, Symptoms of Sexually Transmitted Infections). Treating these infections can help to prevent infertility.
  • Avoid causing infection by following proper infection-prevention practices when performing medical procedures that pass instruments from the vagina into the uterus, such as IUD insertion(see Infection Prevention in the Clinic).
  • Treat or refer clients with signs or symptoms of infection postpartum or postabortion.
  • Help clients with fertility problems become aware of risks to fertility— not only infections but also lifestyle and environmental factors.
  • Counsel clients about available options for their future childbearing—that is, fertility preservation techniques such as sperm freezing for men and in vitro fertilization or freezing eggs—if they are being treated or are having surgery for cancer or other diseases that may affect reproductive tissues or organs.
Contraceptives Do Not Cause Infertility
  • With most modern contraceptive methods, there is no significant delay in the time to desired pregnancy after contraception is stopped. On average, pregnancy occurs after 3 to 6 months of unprotected sex. There is great variation around this average, however, related to the age and the health status of the individuals in the couple. When counseling couples who stop contraception and want to have a child, aging and other factors affecting the fertility of the woman and the man need to be considered.
  • The return of fertility after injectable contraceptives are stopped usually takes longer than with most other methods (see Progestin- Only Injectables, Questions 7 and 8, and Monthly Injectables, Questions 10 and 11). In time, however, a woman is as fertile as before using the method, taking aging into account.
  • Among women with current gonorrhea or chlamydia, IUD insertion  slightly increases the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease in the first 20 days after insertion. However, research has not found that former IUD users are more likely to be infertile than other women (see Copper-Bearing IUD, Question 4).