STANFORD, Calif. Men who are infertile because of defects in their semen appear to be at increased risk of dying sooner than men with normal semen, according to a study led by a researcher at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
Men with two or more abnormalities in their semen were more than twice as likely to die over a roughly eight-year period as men who had normal semen, the study found.
Smoking and diabetes either of which doubles mortality risk both get a lot of attention, noted the study's lead author, Michael Eisenberg, MD, PhD, assistant professor of urology and Stanford's director of male reproductive medicine and surgery. "But here we're seeing the same doubled risk with male infertility, which is relatively understudied."
Infertility is a widespread medical complaint in developed countries, where about one in seven couples is affected at some point. But this is only the third study worldwide, and the first in the United States, to address the question of a connection between male infertility and mortality, said Eisenberg.
Results from the two earlier studies, one in postwar Germany and another of more recent vintage in Denmark, were conflicting.
In the new study titled "Semen quality, infertility and mortality in the USA," to be published online May 16 in Human Reproduction, Eisenberg and his colleagues examined records of men ages 20 to 50 who had visited one of two centers to be evaluated for possible infertility. In all, about 12,000 men fitting this description were seen between 1994 and 2011 at Stanford Hospital & Clinics or between 1989 and 2009 at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. At both clinics, data were available for several aspects of a patient's semen quality, such as total semen volume and sperm counts, motility and shape. (Dolores Lamb, PhD, and Larry Lipshultz, MD, of Baylor were senior authors of the study.)
By keying identifiers for the patients to data
|Contact: Bruce Goldman|
Stanford University Medical Center