Health Library

Health Library

Cystic Fibrosis and the Reproductive System

How does CF affect the reproductive system?

Children with CF have an abnormality in the function of a cell protein called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR). CFTR controls the flow of water and certain salts in and out of the body's cells. As the movement of salt and water in and out of cells is altered, mucus becomes thickened.

In the reproductive system, the thickened secretions can cause obstructions and affect the development and function of the sexual organs.

Most males with CF have obstruction of the sperm canal known as congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD). Women also have an increase in thick cervical mucus that may lead to a decrease in fertility. This condition has not been reported to affect sexual drive or performance.  

Symptoms that may be present due to the effects of CF on the reproductive system include:

  • Delayed sexual development

  • Absence or stopping of menstruation

  • Irregular menstrual periods

  • Inflammation of the cervix

  • Infertility or sterility

Both men and women should consider the added demands of parenthood and how it might affect their own health. The decision is personal, and you should talk with your health care team if you are considering parenting or having a baby.

Cystic Fibrosis and the Reproductive System - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Grantham, Paula, RN, BSN
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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