Treatment discontinuation in couples consulting for male infertility after failing to conceive

Fertil Steril. 2013 Apr;99(5):1319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.11.035. Epub 2012 Dec 20.


Objective: To evaluate rates and reasons for treatment discontinuation in couples with male factor infertility and who failed to conceive.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Male Sterility Center, University Hospital.

Patient(s): A total of 407 couples consulting for male factor infertility and who discontinued treatment without conceiving.

Intervention(s): None.

Main outcome measure(s): Treatment, reasons for dropout, and reproductive outcomes after discontinuation.

Result(s): Of the 407 patients, 218 (54%) had had fertility treatment (medical or surgical), and 189 (46%) underwent assisted reproductive techniques (ART) (intrauterine insemination [IUI], in vitro fertilization [IVF], or intracytoplasmic sperm injection [ICSI]). The main reasons for dropout were painfulness of treatment (15% for patients with non-ART treatment vs. 32% for patients who had undergone ART), its ineffectiveness (12% vs. 26%), and separation of the couple (18% vs. 7%). Of the 407 patients, 27% consulted in another fertility center, 8% succeeded in having a child by ART with male partner sperm, 1% by ART with donor sperm, and 11% through adoption.

Conclusion(s): About half of the couples consulting for male factor infertility discontinued fertility treatment, and of those who discontinued only a fifth finally succeeded in having a child. Although support is available to couples during fertility care, ART is a physical and psychological burden.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoption / psychology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / psychology*
  • Fertilization in Vitro / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / epidemiology*
  • Infertility, Male / psychology*
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Dropouts / psychology*
  • Patient Dropouts / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Social Support
  • Treatment Failure