Men, Seriously. What Are You Thinking?


Men, Seriously. What Are You Thinking?

A Suite of Studies from ASRM’s Scientific Congress and Expo on Men’s Fertility Knowledge, Motivations in Pursuing Fertility Treatment, and Use of Primary Care

US Men Show Low Levels of Knowledge on the Subject of Fertility and Infertility

Philadelphia, PA- A preliminary analysis of results from an online survey show that men in the United States know somewhat less about fertility and infertility treatment than women do and are particularly optimistic- or confused- when it comes to what they think they know about female fertility and age.

Texas-based researchers Parker Murray and Rashmi Kudesia presented their study today in Philadelphia at ASRM’s 75th annual Scientific Congress and Expo.  The Fertility and Infertility Treatment Knowledge Scale (FIT-KS), a web-based survey, was taken by 99 men in the United States.  Survey-takers were fluent in English and ranged in age from 18 to 50 (average age 30).  Approximately half of them were married or in a relationship, 66% were childless, and 61% had a college, or higher, degree.

The men’s average score on the FIT-KS was 42%. Most men answered only 12 out of 29 questions correctly, compared to a cohort of women who, in a previous administration of the survey, got an average of 16 answers correct.

Strikingly, only 6% knew that men could contribute to a couple’s infertility, although 25% knew that male age impacted fertility.

Men tended to underestimate the decline of natural fertility in women associated with age, believing the odds to be better than they actually are of a woman achieving pregnancy at ages 30 and 40. This pattern of belief carried over into their views on IVF, with 19% of men overestimating IVF success rates at female age 35 and 86% overestimating the chance of IVF success for a woman of 44.

Most men (75%) underestimated the rate of spontaneous miscarriage and very few (17%) knew how long sperm survive in the female reproductive tract.

ASRM President Peter Schlegel, MD noted, “This survey shows a steep learning curve for men when it comes to fertility knowledge. It’s an alert to our professional community that we need to make sure we have good, comprehensive educational and informational resources on hand for those men who find themselves encountering a diagnosis of their own or of their partner. We especially need to improve men’s knowledge of the age-related changes in fertility women face.”

P-640 Murray and Kudesia, “Fertility and Infertility Treatment Knowledge Among Men Aged 18-50 in the US”

Men’s Motivations for Fertility Evaluation and Treatment; Some Pursuing Treatment Say They Do Not Want Children

Philadelphia, PA- A study on motivating factors and quality of life for male infertility patients finds that a small number of men planning to go through ART treatment say they do not want children.

Researchers from the University of Southern California (USC) presented their findings today at ASRM’s 75th Scientific Congress and Expo in Philadelphia.  The researchers surveyed 70 male partners of couples pursuing assisted reproductive technology. After providing a semen sample, the men completed two anonymous paper-based surveys: one, a questionnaire focusing on demographic information, fertility history and personal motivations, and the other, the FertiQol, a fertility quality of life survey designed to assess the impact of infertility and its treatment in several life areas.

Most of the men were married (87%) and did not already have children (75%).  When asked, “Why are you pursuing a fertility evaluation?”90% answered, “because both my partner and I want a child.” In answer to the question, “Do you want children?” 91% responded with a “yes,” but 9% said “no.” A relationship was found between the present state of being childless and a man’s desire to have a child. Of the men who wanted to have children, 67% planned to pursue IVF.  Of those who did not want children, four out of five said they intended to go through IVF.

ASRM President Peter Schlegel, MD remarked, “This study is small, but it raises interesting questions about men’s motivations and expectations in undergoing fertility treatment.  Making counseling available on an individual, as well as a couple’s, basis can ensure that partners are in agreement about having a family and how they are going to go about it. Men’s perspectives on family-building are critical for a couple and should be explored for their, their partners’ and their future children’s well-being.”

P-689 Danis et al, “Motivating Factors and Quality of Life for Male Partners of Infertile Couples”

Primary Care Has Not Been a Priority for Men Undergoing Fertility Evaluation 

Philadelphia, PA- Over one third of men embarking on a fertility evaluation do not have a primary care provider (PCP) and of those who do, many have not seen their PCP in over a year.

A retrospective cross-sectional study presented at the 75th annual Scientific Congress and Expo of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine examined the records of all men (4,127) reporting to a reproductive urologist at a one fertility center between 2000 and 2019.  The patients were asked to provide the name of their PCP at their first visit.  Having a PCP was associated with older age and lower blood pressure. Obesity rates were similar for men who had a PCP and for those who did not.

ASRM President Peter Schlegel, MD said, “Male infertility is associated with a number of comorbidities and reproductive urologists are well-positioned to advise their patients to pay more attention to their overall health.”

O-149 Halpern et al, “Underutilization of Primary Medical Care Among Men Presenting for Fertility Evaluation” 

ASRM is a multidisciplinary organization dedicated to the advancement of the science and practice of reproductive medicine. The Society accomplishes its mission through the pursuit of excellence in education and research and through advocacy on behalf of patients, physicians, and affiliated health care providers. The Society is committed to facilitating and sponsoring educational activities for the lay public and continuing medical education activities for professionals who are engaged in the practice of and research in reproductive medicine.