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Can men with kidney failure father children?


A man’s ejaculate contains millions of sperm, each one looking like a microscopic tadpole. The sperm move around, and one needs to reach an egg in the woman for conception (fertilsation of the egg) to occur. Sperm can be examined under a microscope, and the quality of the sperm measured by the numbers of the sperm (the ‘sperm count’), their ability to move, and the numbers with abnormal shapes. A number of research studies have looked at the sperm of men with kidney diseases.

Kidney disease which is not severe enough to give kidney failure or to need dialysis probably does not affect a man’s sperm count. Studies looking at the sperm of men receiving dialysis treatment do show that many men have reduced sperm counts, and the sperm that are present are underactive. This seems to be due to failure of the sperm to develop in the testicle. Sometimes there is associated testosterone deficiency, but it is not clear from research whether testosterone treatment restores the numbers and function of sperm in men with kidney failure.

After successful kidney transplantation, sperm numbers generally rise and there are reports of men who were infertile whilst on dialysis fathering children after transplantation.

11. Pregnancy with kidney failure and on dialysis


The National Kidney Federation cannot accept responsibility for information provided. The above is for guidance only. Patients are advised to seek further information from their own doctor.

NKF Controlled Document No. 211: Can men with kidney failure father children? written: 15/12/2002 last reviewed: 13/03/2019