Duration of infertility linked to poor sperm quality, study finds

The longer a man is infertile, the lower his sperm count and other parameters of impaired sperm. That’s the conclusion in a BJU International study of 1,644 infertile men. Older age and higher body mass index were associated with a longer duration of infertility as well.

Approximately 15 percent of couples of reproductive age fail to achieve a wanted pregnancy within a 12-month period, despite regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Prolonged infertility has been considered a psychosocial stress for the infertile couple that may lead to poor marital adjustment and decreased quality of life, but the potential role of the duration of infertility in terms of couple’s reproductive health remains understudied.

“Our results suggest that duration of infertility should be considered a potential risk factor for impaired sperm parameters in infertile men. Also, infertile couples should be made aware of the associations found in this study,” said lead author Dr. Luca Boeri, of IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, in Italy.

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