A new research study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine and led by noted men’s health researcher Dr. Paul Turek has a powerful conclusion: that men diagnosed with infertility suffer intense negative sexual, personal and social strains that might be considered typical for other medical illnesses, including cancer.
Traditionally viewed as a “silent disease” in men, the psychological toll infertility takes on men's health was previously not well known by medical researchers. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco, in collaboration with Dr. Turek, a nationally recognized urologist, male infertility specialist and founder of the renowned Turek Clinic in San Francisco, conducted the study.
“Since male infertility is such a common problem, it is important to understand the real impact it has on male health and relationships,” Dr. Turek said. “This study makes clear, for the first time, that male infertility is a ‘disease’ like any other, silent or not, and can have a serious effect on the overall well-being of the individual, the couple, and the family.”
The study shows that the diagnosis of infertility increases social strain in male partners of infertile couples. Male partners in couples with perceived, isolated male factor infertility have a lower sexual and personal quality of life compared to male partners of couples without perceived male factor infertility.
About one in eight couples – around 7.3 million Americans – has trouble conceiving. Half of those cases have male infertility issues – often easily treatable ones. Male infertility affects 10% to 15% of reproductive aged couples worldwide and is treatable in many cases.
The goal of the research was to measure the personal, social, sexual and marital impact of a diagnosis of male factor infertility among men in couples evaluated for infertility. Among the 357 men studied, no male factor was reported in 47%, isolated male factor was present in 12%, combined male and female factors were present in 16%, and unexplained infertility was present in 25% of couples. The research involved cross-sectional analysis of 357 men in infertile couples from eight academic and community-based fertility clinics. Participants completed validated, written surveys, face-to-face and telephone interviews at study enrollment. More information about the study can be found on The Journal of Sexual Medicine Web site at: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118495964/home .
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