Male factor infertility and lack of openness about infertility as risk factors for depressive symptoms in males undergoing assisted reproductive technology treatment in Italy

The current research found that the association of male factor infertility with lack of openness about infertility was a risk factor for depression among Italian males undergoing assisted reproductive technology treatment.

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Volume 107, Issue 4, Pages 1041–1047


Alessandra Babore, Psy.D., Liborio Stuppia, M.D., Carmen Trumello, Ph.D., Carla Candelori, Psy.D., Ivana Antonucci, Ph.D.



To investigate the association between male factor infertility and openness to discussing assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment with levels of depression among men undergoing infertility treatment.




Not applicable.


Three hundred forty participants (170 men and their partners) undergoing ART treatments.


Administration of a set of questionnaires.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Depressive symptoms were detected by means of the Zung Depression Self-Rating Scale. Participants’ willingness to share their infertility treatment experience with other people was assessed by means of self-report questionnaires.


In this study, 51.8% of males chose not to discuss their ART treatments with people other than their partner. In addition, the decision to discuss or not discuss the ART treatments with others was significantly associated with men's depressive symptoms. Male factor infertility was significantly associated with depression when considered together with the decision not to discuss ART treatments with others. A general disposition characterized by a lack of openness with others seemed to be a significant predictor of depression.


There is a need for routine fertility care to pay greater attention to men's emotional needs. Before commencing reproductive treatment, male patients may benefit from undergoing routine screening for variables (i.e., male factor infertility and openness to others about ART) that may affect their risk of depression.

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders.