Sexual issues

Resuming sexual activity

One major concern many patients have is when they can resume sexual activity. In general, if you can walk up a flight of stairs without problems, you may have sexual activity.

You may find that some of the medicines, as well as your own emotional responses to your transplant, may affect your sex life. If you are having problems, please talk about it your clinic visits. Treatment is available.

Birth control

When you resume sexual activity, use birth control to avoid an unplanned pregnancy right after the transplant.

  • Barrier methods of birth control are most often recommended. These include condoms, diaphragms, and spermicidal jellies. Condoms can help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Follow package directions.
  • Women can take low-dose oral contraception ("the pill"). The pill can increase your risk for blood clots, heart disease, depression, high blood pressure and stomach problems. The pill does not prevent against STDs. Follow package directions.

Important: The pill, ORTHO EVRA® patch, and the NuvaRing® may affect how well your medicines work. Talk with your cardiologist or transplant coordinator before you start any of these birth control methods.

Pregnancy after surgery

If you want to have children after a heart transplant, it is possible. You will need special medical care, planning and close follow-up.

Before you get pregnant, talk with your cardiologist, OB/GYN and transplant coordinator. You should have:

  • stable immunosuppression levels
  • no heart or kidney problems
  • normal blood pressure or high blood pressure that is under control
  • normal blood glucose levels or diabetes that is under control
  • overall good health

For more information

To learn more, contact:

  • your health care team
  • The National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry. Call 1-877-955-6877. 

Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Care After Heart Transplant, cvs-ah-95405 (1/18)
First Published: 01/06/2013
Last Reviewed: 01/19/2018

Follow your doctor's directions until your incision has healed.