Great question! Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. Everyone’s body is different. While some immune systems are able to keep a chlamydial infection at bay for some time, others may struggle.
In females, infertility can occur when the infection spreads from the vaginal canal into the uterus (pelvic inflammatory disease) and chlamydia bacteria inflame the uterine lining (endometrium), causing scarring. This scar tissue can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the endometrium. It can also cause ectopic pregnancy, or pregnancy in the fallopian tubes, by blocking a fertilized egg from leaving the tubes.
In males, infertility occurs when chlamydia bacteria cause inflammation in the epididymis, a little sac in the testicles where sperm mature. While this inflammation is occurring, sperm cannot appropriately mature, and will not form a pregnancy. However, males will likely become fertile again once the chlamydia has been treated.
Because it’s hard to predict how a person’s body will respond to chlamydia, it’s important to get tested once a year or after new partners. It’s a great idea to use condoms and bring your partners in to get tested before you become sexually active with them! Remember, chlamydia and gonorrhea don’t have symptoms about 70% of the time. Once a person tests positive for chlamydia, we treat them as soon as possible to prevent permanent damage and further spread of the infection.