Health and life style among infertile men and women

Sex Reprod Healthc. 2010 Aug;1(3):91-8. doi: 10.1016/j.srhc.2010.06.002. Epub 2010 Jun 25.


Objective: Lifetime prevalence of infertility among couples is approximately 10-15%, but studies addressing their health behavior are few. Our aim was to describe health and life style of Finnish men and women who had experienced infertility.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Finland.

Population and methods: Data from a population-based survey (n=7021) was utilized. Life style of infertile men (n=289) and women (n=155) were compared to other men and fertile women.

Main outcome measures: Life style (dietary factors, use of alcohol, physical activity), reproductive factors, other diseases and symptoms.

Results: After adjusting for age, area and education, infertile women under 50 years consumed more polyunsaturated fat (OR 1.23, 95% CI 1.03-1.46), less saturated fat (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.74-0.92) and had experienced more hangovers during previous year (OR 1.02, 95% CI 1.00-1.05) than fertile women. Infertile men under 50 years consumed more total fat (OR 1.06, 95% CI 1.03-1.10), polyunsaturated fat (OR 1.20, 95% CI 1.05-1.37) and monounsaturated fat (OR 1.17, 95% CI 1.06-1.28) compared to other men. Infertile men did not consume more alcohol nor smoke more cigarettes but reported more often allergies than fertile men. Infertile women also had Chlamydia trachomatis infection, benign tumor in their uterus and intestinal disease more often than fertile women. Infertile women over 50 years were more often current smokers than fertile women, but the differences in other age-groups were not significant.

Conclusions: Women with infertility experience reported more diseases and less use of oral contraceptives than other women, possibly reflecting reasons to infertility. Since both infertility and unhealthy use of alcohol are an increasing public health issues in western societies, more attention should be paid towards life style, especially alcohol use of infertile women.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Fatty Acids / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Finland
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Infertility*
  • Infertility, Female
  • Intestinal Diseases
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prevalence
  • Smoking*
  • Uterine Neoplasms


  • Dietary Fats
  • Fatty Acids