Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.
Does having a heart transplant affect male fertility? It depends. Some men experience erectile dysfunction after their transplant. After your heart transplant, you should be able to resume sexual activities safely within 12 weeks. However, if you are planning to become conceive with your partner, you should discuss birth control options with your doctor.
Heart transplants do not affect male fertility
Men with organ failure who undergo heart transplants don't have to worry about erectile dysfunction or hypogonadism. While men may experience erectile dysfunction and hypogonadism after surgery, the majority of men who undergo heart transplants go on to have children. Although male fertility is not affected by heart transplants, patients should still follow their doctor's instructions. Listed below are some of the common side effects of heart transplants and what you should expect after a surgery.
First, heart transplant donors are usually recent deceased individuals or those who are brain dead, meaning they are still on life support. Most heart donors have suffered severe head injuries or gunshot wounds. Before the procedure the recipient gives their consent. They also have to undergo a psychological evaluation and are evaluated to make sure they will survive the procedure and follow the post-transplant care. Heart transplant patients are then placed on the transplant list and monitored closely.
Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause pneumonia after heart transplant
Although CMV is rare, patients with organ transplants are more likely to become infected with this virus. Transplants may include a solid organ, bone marrow, or stem-cell transplant. People who have organ transplants will take medications for the rest of their lives to prevent the body's immune system from attacking the donated organ. In rare cases, CMV infection can reactivate after a transplant.
Infection with CMV may occur after lung or small bowel transplants. It is also possible to contract CMV if the donor organ has been affected by this virus. If you have CMV, the condition can lead to serious problems, including organ rejection. In rare cases, you may need another transplant, although preventive medicine and vaccinations have greatly reduced the risk of serious complications. While CMV is a virus that rarely causes long-term problems in people with a normal immune system, it can cause significant problems after a heart transplant.
While having a heart transplant may reduce testosterone levels, and recommendations are that you shouldn't have intercourse for 3 months post procedure, generally speaking there are few risks to male fertility.
The main area of concern to anyone who has had a transplant is pneumonia and a reduced immune system, however, medications are prescibed to minimize the risks of illness.