Increased risk of incident chronic medical conditions in infertile men Analysis of United States claims data

Men diagnosed with male factor infertility had a significantly higher risk of adverse health outcomes in the years after an infertility evaluation.

Michael L. Eisenberg, M.D., Shufeng Li, M.S., Mark R. Cullen, M.D., Laurence C. Baker, Ph.D.

Volume 105, Issue 3, Pages 629-636


To determine the incidence of chronic medical conditions of men with infertility.

Retrospective cohort study.

Not applicable.

Subjects contained within the Truven Health MarketScan claims database from 2001 to 2009.

Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure(s):
The development of chronic medical conditions including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, renal disease, pulmonary disease, liver disease, depression, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, injury, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder.

In all, 13,027 men diagnosed with male factor infertility were identified with an additional 23,860 receiving only fertility testing. The average age was 33.1 years for men diagnosed with infertility and 32.8 years for men receiving testing alone. After adjusting for confounding factors, men diagnosed with male factor infertility had a higher risk of developing diabetes (hazard ratio [HR] 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10–1.53), ischemic heart disease (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.19–1.84), alcohol abuse (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.07–2.05), and drug abuse (1.67, 95% CI 1.06–2.63) compared with men who only received infertility testing. Similar patterns were identified when comparing those with male factor infertility to vasectomized men. The association between male factor infertility and later health outcomes were strongest for men with longer follow-up.

In this cohort of patients in a national insurance database, men diagnosed with male factor infertility had a significantly higher risk of adverse health outcomes in the years after an infertility evaluation. These findings suggest the overall importance of men’s reproductive health and warrant additional investigation to understand the association and identify interventions to improve outcomes for these patients.

  • msamplaski

    The association between male infertility and chronic medical conditions is not surprising, given this groups prior publications demonstrating an increased risk of death in these men. These findings have been so consistent that the AUA now recommends that men presenting with ED (which is associated with infertility) should have a cardiovascular assessment, including BP, lipids, CBC and CMP. Whatever the underlying mechanism is, the evidence consistently demonstrates that men presenting for infertility are need to be evaluated for global conditions that may effect their overall health.

  • Infertility can be a barometer for men’s health as demonstrated in this database review. This is becoming like finding Cardiovascular disease in young men with ED. The infertility men may be part of the same spectrum as the ED men in having their Men’s health issue pre dating their future medical co morbidities.

    I think this gives additional reason for a thorough male evaluation as part of the couple’s infertility work up and ensuring they have longitudinal medical follow ups with their primary care physician after the infertility treatment is completed.

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