New Study: Men Diagnosed With Infertility Suffer Intense Negative Sexual, Personal and Social Strains

Infertility among men not the ‘silent disease’ once believed; infertile men have more marital, relationship and sex problems

San Francisco, CA – July 13, 2009: A new research study published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine and led by noted men’s health researcher Dr. Paul Turek has a powerful conclusion: that men diagnosed with infertility suffer intense negative sexual, personal and social strains that might be considered typical for other medical illnesses, including cancer.

This study makes clear, for the first time, that male infertility is a ‘disease’ like any other, silent or not…”
– Dr. Paul Turek

Traditionally viewed as a “silent disease” in men, the psychological toll infertility takes on men was previously not well known by medical researchers. Researchers at the University of California San Francisco, in collaboration with Dr. Turek, a nationally recognized urologist, male infertility specialist and founder of the renowned Turek Clinic in San Francisco, conducted the study.

“Since male infertility is such a common problem, it is important to understand the real impact it has on male health and relationships,” Dr. Turek said. “This study makes clear, for the first time, that male infertility is a ‘disease’ like any other, silent or not, and can have a serious effect on the overall well-being of the individual, the couple, and the family.”

The study shows that the diagnosis of infertility increases social strain in male partners of infertile couples. Male partners in couples with perceived, isolated male factor infertility have a lower sexual and personal quality of life compared to male partners of couples without perceived male factor infertility.

About one in eight couples – around 7.3 million Americans – has trouble conceiving. Half of those cases have male infertility issues – often easily treatable ones. Male infertility affects 10% to 15% of reproductive aged couples worldwide and is treatable in many cases.

The goal of the research was to measure the personal, social, sexual and marital impact of a diagnosis of male factor infertility among men in couples evaluated for infertility. Among the 357 men studied, no male factor was reported in 47%, isolated male factor was present in 12%, combined male and female factors were present in 16%, and unexplained infertility was present in 25% of couples. The research involved cross-sectional analysis of 357 men in infertile couples from eight academic and community-based fertility clinics. Participants completed validated, written surveys, face-to-face and telephone interviews at study enrollment. More information about the study can be found on The Journal of Sexual Medicine web site at: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/118495964/home.

Tips for Men Diagnosed with Infertility

Dr. Turek offers this advice for men diagnosed with infertility:

  1. Take control of the matter — Take the initiative and educate yourself as this helps you get control of the situation and helps with decision-making. Consider going to informational Web sites such as ASRM.org and SSMR.org.
  2. Make an appointment with a specialist in male infertility — These physicians are usually urologists who are interested in, or specifically trained in, male infertility matters and see infertility frequently and not just rarely. They can streamline care and make it more efficient, and often employ cutting edge treatment techniques unfamiliar to other physicians.
  3. Talk openly with your partner regarding your feelings –- Have the difficult conversation with your other half. Be upfront when you need a break from the topic. Decide who really needs to know about it and who doesn’t. This can help relieve stress.
  4. Find a way to blow off steam –- This issue can lead to frustration and self-doubt. Get your blood pumping by working out, playing hoops, or going running. Release the stress with yoga, massage or whatever works for you. Try to save that sex drive from also tanking.
  5. Get the support you need — Talk with buddies that you trust. Even consider talking with a therapist or counselor. Ask your doctor about where you can get such help.

“In most cases, male infertility is not the fault of the man. It is a disease that happens like any other.” Dr Turek said. “A good response to this is to be the best man you can be and take great care of yourself.” Dr. Turek recommends: “Eat well, sleep well and treat your body like a temple.”

About The Turek Clinic

The Turek Clinic is a next-generation men’s healthcare medical practice specializing in issues facing reproductive age men, including male infertilityerectile dysfunctionvasectomyvasectomy reversalvaricocele repair, and other minimally invasive procedures. The practice was founded in 2008 by Dr. Paul Turek, a pioneer in men’s reproductive health and former endowed chair professor at the University of California San Francisco. Dr. Turek’s work combines innovative and cutting edge techniques with the wisdom of old-world medicine to treat and solve men’s health issues.

New Study: Men Diagnosed With Infertility Suffer Intense Negative Sexual, Personal and Social Strains (pdf)