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Can iron deficiency anemia lead to fertility issues?

Iron deficiency anemia, characterized by low levels of iron in the body, can potentially contribute to fertility issues in both men and women.

Iron plays a crucial role in reproductive health, as it is essential for the proper functioning of various biological processes involved in fertility.

How it affects women:

In women, iron deficiency anemia may cause amenorrhea which is suggested to lead to failed follicle development and fertility. Additionally, iron deficiency anemia during pregnancy increases the risk of adverse outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight.

How it affects men:

In men, iron deficiency anemia can impair sperm production and quality. Iron is necessary for optimal sperm development and function, and its deficiency can result in decreased sperm motility and count. Moreover, iron deficiency may affect the overall reproductive health of men by compromising testosterone levels and causing hormonal imbalances.

Why do iron levels affect fertility?

The exact mechanisms underlying the relationship between iron deficiency anemia and fertility issues are still being investigated. Iron is involved in the synthesis of enzymes and proteins necessary for reproductive processes, including DNA synthesis, cellular energy production, and hormone regulation. Insufficient iron levels may disrupt these processes and therefore impair fertility.

Addressing iron deficiency anemia can potentially improve fertility outcomes. It is crucial for individuals experiencing fertility concerns to undergo comprehensive evaluations, including iron status assessments, and consult with healthcare professionals specialized in reproductive health. Iron supplementation, along with appropriate management of the underlying causes of anemia, may help restore iron levels and potentially enhance fertility.


  1. Breymann C. (2015). Iron Deficiency Anemia in Pregnancy. Seminars in hematology, 52(4), 339–347.

  2. Tonai, S., Kawabata, A., Nakanishi, T., Lee, J. Y., Okamoto, A., Shimada, M., & Yamashita, Y. (2020). Iron deficiency induces female infertile in order to failure of follicular development in mice. The Journal of reproduction and development, 66(5), 475–483.

  3. Haider, B. A., Olofin, I., Wang, M., Spiegelman, D., Ezzati, M., & Fawzi, W. W. (2013). Anaemia, prenatal iron use, and risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ, 346, f3443.

  4. Akhter, M. S., Hamali, H. A., Iqbal, J., Mobarki, A. A., Rashid, H., Dobie, G., Madkhali, A. M., Arishi, B. Y. H., Ageeli, E. O. O., & Laghbi, O. S. H. (2021). Iron Deficiency Anemia as a Factor in Male Infertility: Awareness in Health College Students in the Jazan Region of Saudi Arabia. International journal of environmental research and public health, 18(24), 12866.

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