Limitations and barriers in access to care for male factor infertility

Male infertility is underrepresented as a disease. Acknowledging and addressing the barriers in access to care for male infertility is necessary for improving reproductive care and outcomes in the United States.

Akanksha Mehta, M.D., Ajay K. Nangia, M.B.B.S., James M. Dupree, M.D., M.P.H., James F. Smith, M.D., M.S.

Volume 105, Issue 5, Pages 1128-1137


The primary challenge to identifying and addressing barriers in access to care for male factor infertility is accurate measurement of the prevalence of male infertility. Current estimates are based on couples pursuing assisted reproduction, and likely underestimate the problem. These estimates also fail to account for the number of patients facing infertility due to cancer or cancer treatment. Lack of health insurance coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of infertility presents a major barrier for couples struggling with infertility. However, it is not the only barrier. Education level, household income, cultural norms, religious beliefs, geographic location, and the availability of specialty-trained reproductive urologists are all important factors in determining the ease with which patients access and obtain infertility care. Addressing each of these obstacles directly is imperative to improving reproductive care and outcomes for infertile couples in the United States.

  • as mentioned above, geographic location becomes a major consideration as well. Unfortunately this becomes tied to awareness. If we could improve both of these simple factors, i’m sure that some barriers would be diminished. While by no means ideal, People are willing to drive 2-3 hours for expert consultation as long as they are made aware of the services available.

    Another, perhaps better alternative, is tele-medicine or outreach to distant communities by Reproductive endocrinologists/Urologist Andrologists etc.. in order to help bring that care to people who need it !

    • Scantily Dad

      Tele-medicine is a great idea. The resources for men that are struggling with infertility are very limited.

  • msamplaski

    This abstract highlights a highly neglected need. I am sure that many of us have seen men who are thankful for our time, information and caring; and many of these men have found their only other answers on the internet. Certainly there is a need for more funding for infertility, and I applaud those that are working with government to try to obtain this. In the meantime, high quality medical support staff (PAs and NPs) as well as internet and paper resources are invaluable for our patients.

    • Scantily Dad

      I could not agree more. That is why I started blogging about male infertility. There is simply not enough awareness of the problem.

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