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Can rheumatic fever lead to infertility?

Q: My husband had rheumatic fever as a child (when he was 10 years old; now he is 29). It got as far as affecting his heart and he could not walk for 2 years. We've been married for about 7 years and have been trying for children since day one. Recently, we got to know that he has azoospermia. My question is that is the fever the cause or one of the causes of low sperm count? Do you know of any other couple with a similar problem? Is there a cure?

A:There is no relation with rheumatic fever and infertility as such but any severe illness and stress or prolonged illness can temporarily suppress testes to make sperms. It may come back to normal if general health is regained. Your husband needs physical checkup by a urologist and some tests like serum FSH. Depending upon the results further treatment can be decided. The overall prevalence of infertility is very high - up to 15% of marriages. So don't think you are alone. Yes, the combination of Rheumatic fever with infertility is uncommon. This actually may imply that most people with rheumatic fever have children.

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