Male infertility common, often unexplained, study finds

In 2020, one in three IVF cycles undertaken by couples trying to conceive was due to male infertility or a combination of male and female infertility, a new report by Australian medical researchers shows.

The underlying reason for the male infertility was unknown in more than 75% of cases. Previous vasectomy was the reason for IVF in 7% of cycles undertaken for male infertility, while 2.4% used assisted reproductive technology (ART) after cancer treatment in the male partner.

“In the past, the focus of fertility treatment was almost always on the female patient, despite a man being equally needed to create a baby. Now that we are collecting data on the cause of male infertility, we can finally study its impact more closely,” said Professor Luk Rombauts, the President of the Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand.

“The fact that over 75% of male factor is ‘unknown’ reflects our lack of understanding of the reasons for poor semen quality. It highlights the need for further research and education in the determination of the causes. It’s quite likely that genetic studies will reveal new risk factors that can lead to male infertility.”

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