Changes in practice patterns in male infertility cases in the United States - the trend towards subspecialization

As more urologists pursue fellowship training and identify with subspecialties, male infertility procedures are increasingly being performed by andrology subspecialists.

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Volume 110, Issue 1, Pages 76–82

Authors:

Phil Vu Bach, M.D., Neal Patel, M.D., Bobby B. Najari, M.D., Clara Oromendia, B.S., Ryan Flannigan, M.D., Robert Brannigan, M.D., Marc Goldstein, M.D., Jim C. Hu, M.D., M.P.H., James A. Kashanian, M.D.

Abstract:

Objective

To assess changes in the practice patterns of urologists performing male infertility procedures (vasal reconstruction, sperm retrieval, varicocelectomy) from 2004 to 2015 in the United States.

Design

Examination of self-reported procedural volumes from urologists undergoing certification and recertification using case log data provided by the American Board of Urology. The study period was stratified into early (2004–2007) and recent (2012–2015) time periods.

Setting

Not applicable.

Patient(s)

None.

Intervention(s)

None.

Main Outcomes Measure(s)

Temporal variations in male infertility practice patterns among different urologic subspecialties between the early and recent time periods.

Result(s)

The overall proportion of total male infertility procedures performed by andrologists significantly increased between the early and recent groups (23% to 26%). This growth was driven by a significant increase in the proportion of varicocele repairs being performed by andrologists between the early and recent periods (19% to 25%). Most notably, an assessment of total number of male infertility procedures performed by newly certifying urologists showed that there was a significant increase in the overall proportion of all male infertility procedures being performed by recently trained andrologists (24% to 35%). This significant increase was seen individually among all three types of male infertility procedures.

Conclusion(s)

With the increased trend in urologists obtaining fellowship training, male infertility surgical volume is beginning to shift from general urologists to subspecialized andrologists.


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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.

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