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European Urology: Male factor infertility associated with comorbidities

Arnhem, November 2009 The December issue of European Urology, the official journal of the European Association of Urology, features an article entitled 'Are Infertile Men Less Healthy than Fertile Men? Results of a Prospective Case-Control Survey' by Dr. Andrea Salonia et al. The conclusion is that male factor infertility is associated with a number of medical comorbidities, as objectively scored with the hospital-based Charlson Comorbidity Index.

Dr. Andrea Salonia from the University Vita Salute San Raffaele Hospital, Department of Urology in Milan (IT): "Because a greater prevalence of cancers among men with abnormalities in fertility has been reported, our hypothesis was that men with male factor infertility (MFI) may also suffer from a higher rate of certain disorders other than cancers when compared with the general, age-comparable fertile population. The clinical observation of a significant rate of diseases among men with MFI prompted us to examine whether those patients are less healthy than age-comparable fertile men, as objectively scored with a comorbidity index, regardless of the reasons for infertility".

From September 2006 to September 2007, 344 European Caucasian men with MFI were enrolled in this prospective case-controlled study. Patients were enrolled if they were aged ≥18 yr and ≤60 yr and had MFI. Patients were compared with a control group of 293 age-comparable fertile European Caucasian men. Comorbidities of patients and fertile men were objectively scored with the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI) according to the International Classification of Diseases modified ninth version (ICD-9-CM) codes.

The study provides novel evidence that MFI accounts for a higher CCI, which may be considered a reliable proxy of a lower general health status, regardless of the etiology of pure MFI. "Since the current sample size is limited, we cannot derive general conclusions; therefore, additional studies in larger population-based samples are needed to confirm these results", according to Dr. Salonia.


Contact: Lindy Brouwer
European Association of Urology

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