Link between chlamydia and infertility questioned
Dr. Kirsty Horsey
Progress Educational Trust15 August 2005
One of the UK's leading fertility experts has questioned the link between chlamydia and infertility. Lord Robert Winston said in an interview with the Evening Standard last week that there is no British evidence to show that infertility is caused by chlamydia. According to Lord Winston, fertility problems are mostly caused by women waiting too long to have children.
'I am going to be very awkward about this. I think the evidence that chlamydia affects fertility is very dubious. I haven't seen any figures that demonstrate it is causing infertility', said Lord Winston, stating that the link between chlamydia and infertility was based on two Swedish studies performed in the 1960s, and the link had not been checked.
However, other experts don't agree. Toni Belfield of the UK's Family Planning Association says, 'The consequences to fertility of untreated chlamydia are well-known. It can cause pelvic inflammatory disease which scars a woman's fallopian tubes and can prevent conception'.
This debate comes just months after Professor Bill Ledger from the University of Sheffield issued a warning about fertility at the ESHRE conference in Copenhagen. He cautioned that since more and more people are tending to postpone having children to a later age, more and more couples are likely to have trouble conceiving. However, he also cited other possible reasons for a decline in fertility levels, including the increased prevalence of obesity and sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, and a decline in the quality and quantity of male sperm.
The number of cases of chlamydia, known as 'the silent infection' because it can have no symptoms, rose above 100,000 last year.
Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.