Increased risk of incident chronic medical conditions in infertile men: analysis of United States claims data

Men diagnosed with male factor infertility had a significantly higher risk of adverse health outcomes in the years after an infertility evaluation.

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Michael L. Eisenberg, M.D., Shufeng Li, M.S., Mark R. Cullen, M.D., Laurence C. Baker, Ph.D.

Volume 105, Issue 3, Pages 629-636



To determine the incidence of chronic medical conditions of men with infertility.


Retrospective cohort study.


Not applicable.


Subjects contained within the Truven Health MarketScan claims database from 2001 to 2009.


Not applicable.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

The development of chronic medical conditions including hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, renal disease, pulmonary disease, liver disease, depression, peripheral vascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, heart disease, injury, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder.


In all, 13,027 men diagnosed with male factor infertility were identified with an additional 23,860 receiving only fertility testing. The average age was 33.1 years for men diagnosed with infertility and 32.8 years for men receiving testing alone. After adjusting for confounding factors, men diagnosed with male factor infertility had a higher risk of developing diabetes (hazard ratio [HR] 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.10–1.53), ischemic heart disease (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.19–1.84), alcohol abuse (HR 1.48, 95% CI 1.07–2.05), and drug abuse (1.67, 95% CI 1.06–2.63) compared with men who only received infertility testing. Similar patterns were identified when comparing those with male factor infertility to vasectomized men. The association between male factor infertility and later health outcomes were strongest for men with longer follow-up.


In this cohort of patients in a national insurance database, men diagnosed with male factor infertility had a significantly higher risk of adverse health outcomes in the years after an infertility evaluation. These findings suggest the overall importance of men’s reproductive health and warrant additional investigation to understand the association and identify interventions to improve outcomes for these patients.

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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. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.