Sexual and reproductive health in cystic fibrosis

Curr Opin Pulm Med. 2020 Nov;26(6):685-695. doi: 10.1097/MCP.0000000000000731.


Purpose of review: With improving life expectancy and quality of life, sexual and reproductive health (SRH) has become an increasingly important aspect of patient-centered cystic fibrosis care. This review aims to describe advances in cystic fibrosis-related SRH and highlight optimal practices.

Recent findings: Recent publications suggest that people with cystic fibrosis follow a similar trajectory of sexual development and activity as their noncystic fibrosis peers, although contraception use is lower. Although fertility is reduced in patients with cystic fibrosis, improved survival and assisted reproductive technologies have led to an increasing pursuit and incidence of pregnancy. Cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator modulators that correct the underlying cystic fibrosis defect might improve fertility and thus far appear safe in pregnancy, though data are limited.Despite medical knowledge of SRH in cystic fibrosis, patients continue to report they lack sufficient education about these aspects of their healthcare, and cystic fibrosis multidisciplinary teams are ill prepared to counsel their patients.

Summary: Understanding of the effects of cystic fibrosis on SRH continues to improve, although many questions remain regarding optimal care from the choice of contraception to the safety of cystic fibrosis-specific medications in pregnancy. Further development of cystic fibrosis-informed interdisciplinary specialist networks and a wider framework of practice would both enhance health outcomes and better support patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Contraception Behavior
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology
  • Cystic Fibrosis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient-Centered Care
  • Pregnancy
  • Quality of Life
  • Reproductive Health* / education
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual Health* / education