Short-term illness: Can it affect fertility?

I am approaching ovulation and have had a minor illness with a slight fever. I am concerned that it will decrease my chance of conceiving this month. In "A Child is Born", Lennart Nilsson says that the white blood cells will attack and kill anything foreign, especially sperm, if the mother is suffering from a mild infection. Do you agree?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

While there is documentation of certain types of white blood cells interfering with sperm transport and causing blockage in the tubes, I don't know of any literature that supports destruction of sperm. And in your case, this appears to be a very mild infection.

In the book "Taking Charge of Your Fertility", Toni Weschler states: "Being sick does not necessarily affect your cycle, but if it does, its impact is usually influenced by which phase you are in when you get sick. If your illness occurs before ovulation, it may delay it or even prevent it altogether. If it occurs after, it will almost never affect your cycle, because the luteal phase has a consistent life span of 12 to 16 days that is typically not affected by factors such as sickness, travel or exercise."

In any event, you needn't worry that a fever will affect your ability to interpret your chart. For one thing, you can usually depend on the other two fertility signs of cervical mucus and position. In addition, further temperature checks will indicate if fever has affected your cycle by either delaying or preventing normal ovulation temperatures. My guess is that this mild fever would have no affect on your fertility.

I hope this helps and I wish you the best.

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