Can E-coli cause infertility?

Q. Is it possible for E-coli to cause infertility?

Answered by
Dr. Talpe Ashwini Nanasaheb
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 18, 2018

Hi doctor,

I (34) and my wife (30) have been trying to conceive for about 15 months. Due to a slightly low AMH for her age (16 pmol) my wife was recommended to go straight to IVF from our fertility clinic. With all of the above, no issues were found and we are diagnosed with unexplained. My wife went for vaginal swab testing in preparation for the IVF where although no major STDs were found they discovered a large amount of E.Coli bacteria colonized within the reproductive tract (presumably vagina and cervix). There was a small number of leukocytes found too. The doctor wrote a prescription for antibiotics which he said should clear it out.

Our concern now is, could the E-coli be the reason for infertility? My wife has not taken antibiotics for a long time and we are presuming that she could have had the bacteria there for a long time. I have read that E-coli does pretty much clump sperm together and stop them from moving. Do you have any advice on the matter?



Welcome to

Since the vaginal swab shows E-coli (attachment removed to protect patient identity), it would be better to undergo a course of antibiotics for you and your wife in order to improve chances of IVF. If you wish you can request your doctor to go for IUI if both fallopian tubes are patent.

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your reply. We did carry out a course of antibiotics. So from your experience, E-Coli does affect fertility when it is located in the female reproductive tract?



Welcome back to

Yes, infection of E-coli can damage the cilia of fallopian tube which will hamper passage of sperm and catching of egg.

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