Men's experiences of infertility and infertility treatment 5 years after diagnosis of male factor infertility: A retrospective cohort study

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Background: The aim of this study was to describe the perceptions of infertile men regarding the impact of infertility on their intimate relationships, their experience of treatment and their sources of information and support.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey of a consecutive cohort of men diagnosed 5 years earlier as infertile at Melbourne IVF and the Royal Women’s Hospital Reproductive Services, Melbourne was conducted. Study-specific questions assessed the impact of male factor infertility on the intimate relationships, their perceived quality of infertility-related health care and their preferred sources of infertility-related information and personal support and the effectiveness of these.

Results: The response rate was 41% (112/276). Male factor infertility was reported to have had a negative impact on the intimate partner relationship by 25% of men, and 32% reported a negative effect on their sexual satisfaction. Satisfaction with medical care and clinic information was high and not influenced by the outcome of the treatment. Clinic-provided information and discussion with clinic staff were the most strongly preferred sources of information, and the partner and clinic staff were the most valued sources of personal support. Very few men found support groups useful and less than half confided in friends.

Conclusions: The findings suggest that for a significant subgroup of men, male factor infertility affects their intimate relationship negatively. Wider sources of social support are not used by infertile men as they rely predominantly on clinic-provided information and support. This indicates that psychologically informed supportive clinical care is particularly important for men diagnosed as infertile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2815 - 2820
Number of pages6
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Men
  • Male factor infertility
  • Assisted reproductive technology
  • Information
  • Support

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