Can Reproductive Life Plan-based counselling increase men's fertility awareness?

Ups J Med Sci. 2018 Dec;123(4):255-263. doi: 10.1080/03009734.2018.1541948. Epub 2018 Dec 13.


Background: Many men have limited knowledge about reproductive health and fertility. The aim of the study was to evaluate if Reproductive Life Plan (RLP)-based counselling during a sexual health visit could increase men's fertility awareness.

Material and methods: The study was a randomized controlled trial including 201 men aged 18-50 who visited either of two participating sexual health clinics in Sweden for sexually transmitted infection testing during 2014-2016. All men received standard care, and men in the intervention group (IG) also received oral and written RLP-based information about lifestyle and fertility. Awareness about fertility and lifestyle-related factors were the main outcomes, measured through a questionnaire before the intervention and through a telephone survey after three months. Impressions from the counselling were also assessed at follow-up.

Results: A majority (71%) of men wanted children in the future. General fertility awareness increased from a mean score of 4.6 to 5.5 out of 12 (P = 0.004) in the IG. The mean number of accurate lifestyle factors (that could affect fertility) mentioned increased from 3.6 to 4.4 (P < 0.001) in the IG. There were no improvements in the control group. Among the men in the IG, 76% had a positive experience of the counselling, and 77% had received new information.

Conclusion: The intervention managed to increase different aspects of men's fertility awareness. In the future, the format for preconception care for men needs further development. Including men in preconception health policy guidelines and identifying suitable actors for care provision would be important first steps.

Keywords: Identifier; Counselling; NCT02736214; fertility awareness; lifestyle; men; preconception care; reproduction.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Counseling / methods*
  • Family Planning Services / methods*
  • Fertility*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education / methods*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Policy
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preconception Care*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

The Family Planning Fund, Uppsala; Faculty of Medicine, Uppsala University.