Consideration of gender differences in infertility evaluation

Curr Opin Urol. 2019 May;29(3):267-271. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0000000000000590.


Purpose of review: We aim to provide a review of the literature to summarize the potential causes that lead to a disparity in infertility evaluation and the implications of male factor infertility.

Recent findings: Owing to current social constructs, women are more likely to seek medical attention and establish reproductive health evaluation at an earlier age. The male factor evaluation in infertility usually gets delayed and can contribute to a couple's inability to conceive. Furthermore, the cost of assisted reproductive technology is not inconsequential and identifying reversible causes of male infertility could lead to substantial cost-savings to the couple. Additionally, male infertility has been identified as a potential early surrogate for adverse health outcomes and an early identification could serve to counsel these patients on lifestyle modification.

Summary: Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of unprotected intercourse with 15% of couples reporting difficulties in conception. Traditionally, female factor evaluation has been the driver for the infertility workup. It is estimated that male factor is likely to play a role in 50% of infertile couples with sole contribution in 20% of cases. It is therefore crucial to ensure appropriate investigations of both partners to rule out potentially reversible causes of infertility to improve their chances of natural fecundity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / diagnosis*
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy
  • Infertility, Male / diagnosis*
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Infertility, Male / therapy
  • Male
  • Sex Factors