Access to Care for Infertile Men: Referral Patterns of Fertility Clinics in the United States

Urology. 2022 Aug;166:152-158. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2022.01.047. Epub 2022 Feb 22.


Objective: To evaluate fertility clinic management of male factor infertility, including website educational content as well as factors associated with referral for urologic evaluation and care.

Materials and methods: Using 2015-2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Fertility Clinic Success Rates Reports, 480 operative fertility clinics in the United States were identified. Clinic websites were systematically reviewed for content regarding male infertility. Structured telephone interviews of clinic representatives were performed to determine clinic-specific practices for management of male factor infertility. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to predict how clinic characteristics (geographic region, practice size, practice setting, proximity to urologist, in-state andrology fellowship, state-mandated fertility coverage, annual in vitro fertilization cycles, and percentage of in vitro fertilization cycles for male factor infertility) were associated with patient referral to a urologist for male infertility care.

Results: We interviewed 477 fertility clinics and analyzed available websites (n = 474). The majority of websites (77%) discussed male infertility evaluation while 46% discussed treatment. Fifty clinics (11%) had an on-site urologist. Clinics with on-site urologists were more likely to be larger practices, academically affiliated, and discuss male infertility treatment on their website (all P ≤ .05). For clinics without an on-site urologist, practice size and presence of an in-state andrology fellowship program were the strongest predictors of urologic referral (P <.02).

Conclusion: Variability in patient-facing education and infertility practice setting and size influence access to urologic care for couples with male factor infertility.

MeSH terms

  • Fertility Clinics
  • Fertilization in Vitro
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Infertility*
  • Infertility, Male* / therapy
  • Male
  • Referral and Consultation
  • United States