Linking male infertility diagnosis with the window to future health trajectories

SINGAPORE, May 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Male infertility factors are emerging as likely biomarkers for later life health events including hospital treatments and possible premature death from conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

(PRNewsfoto/Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction)

Lifestyle and social factors, including partner and child relationships, may also be intertwined in the fertility status and future health trajectories of men.

Speaking at the 2022 Congress of the Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction (ASPIRE), male reproductive health specialist, Professor Michael Eisenberg said a range of studies had shown men living with infertility generally were less healthy through life than fertile men.

Professor Eisenberg, Director of Male Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at Stanford University in the United States, said today conditions such as hypertension, cancer, endocrine and heart disease had been linked to impaired semen quality identified when men were diagnosed with male factor infertility.

“In countries like the United States infertility impacts up to one in seven couples, and in nearly 50 per cent of cases a male factor, such as low sperm count or poor sperm motility, explains reproductive difficulties,” he explained.

“But there is now growing evidence that aberrations in reproductive fitness in men may be a harbinger of other medical conditions later in life when compared with fertile men.”

The ASPIRE Congress in virtual format is linking scientists, clinicians, nurses and counsellors from more than 100 countries to address the obstacles facing couples striving for parenthood, and latest advances in infertility treatment.

Professor Eisenberg said some of the best data on male factor infertility and future health had emerged from Denmark where up to 10 per cent of all births result from assisted reproductive technology, such as IVF.

“Danish research has demonstrated semen quality as a marker for later hospital treatments for other health factors,” he explained. “It has shown that men with low sperm count puts them on a poor health trajectory, irrespective of other factors including obesity or smoking.

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“In the United States research linking health insurance claims for fertility diagnosis and later health interventions demonstrated an association with male factor infertility and higher risk of ischemic heart and vascular disease and diabetes.

“The etiology of the association between male infertility and future health is uncertain, but there have been suggestions of genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and other health related factors that may have lifelong impacts on male reproductive and overall health.”

Professor Eisenberg also presented data at the ASPIRE Congress exploring partner and child relationship factors and mortality.

For example, men living with their partner and children along with lone custodial fathers had significantly lower mortality rates than cohabiting childless men and lone childless men. This suggests an association between children and future health factors.

Professor Eisenberg said the studies to date had been among men with no underlying health conditions at the time of infertility diagnosis and other factors such as socio-economic status had been weighted in the research.

He emphasised the need for further studies that track the health trajectories of men diagnosed with infertility and whether or not genetic or hormonal factors may also be involved.

“Reproductive specialists have an important role in counseling men diagnosed with fertility problems to make them more aware of future health risks that may be averted with lifestyle changes, including diet and exercise,” he added. “This in turn could have positive impacts on a man’s reproductive health.”

For more information on the ASPIRE 2022 Congress, go to www.aspire-2022.com

SOURCE Asia Pacific Initiative on Reproduction

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