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Study: Men’s Overall Health Is Related to IVF Success

In the first report exploring links between men’s somatic health and assisted reproductive technology (ART) outcomes, researchers analyzed over five thousand IVF cycles using fresh eggs and sperm, performed between 2004 and 2014 at the Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Health Center. They found that male partners’ health conditions influenced outcomes such as fertilization, implantation, pregnancy, miscarriage, and live birth rates.

The retrospective cohort study reviewed the records of 2,690 men who underwent 5,037 fresh IVF cycles. The Stanford IVF clinical database provided cycle outcomes including: calculated fertilization rate, clinical pregnancy rate, miscarriage rate, implantation rate, live birth rate, singleton birth weight, and gestational age at singleton delivery. Only 7.2% of the cycles were classified as involving male factor infertility.

The cycles were linked to the men’s other health conditions using hospital billing data and diagnosis codes. Of the male partners, 27% of them had at least one medical diagnosis, with 15% having two or more diagnoses.

Significant differences in ART outcomes were noted between men with certain medical conditions and men without these conditions. Men with nervous system diseases had lower average pregnancy rates, 23% vs. 30%, and lower average live birth rates, 15% vs.23%, than men without such diseases. Lower fertilization rates were found among men with respiratory diseases or musculoskeletal diseases, 61% vs. 64%, relative to men without either of those diagnoses. Men with endocrine diseases had children with lower birth weights than men without such diseases; their children averaging 2970 grams at birth, while unaffected men’s children averaged 3210 grams. Men with mental disorders had children born at an earlier gestational age: 36.5 weeks vs 38.0 weeks.

Although infertile men have higher rates of medical comorbidities compared with fertile controls, the current report found no significant association between a diagnosis of male factor infertility and the men’s overall health.

ASRM President, Owen K. Davis, MD remarked, “Many studies have shown that men’s health can impact sperm production and quality. But up until now, there has been little data on the ways a man’s overall, systemic health can affect his reproductive outcomes. Larger studies and more research are needed to give us insight into how treating various health conditions may affect men’s IVF outcomes.”

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