The relationship of Chlamydia trachomatis infection and male infertility

Am J Public Health. 1993 Jul;83(7):996-1001. doi: 10.2105/ajph.83.7.996.


Objectives: Infertility affects at least 2 million couples in the United States. One third of infertility is attributed to male causes, but the etiology of most male infertility remains obscure. This study was designed to investigate the relationship between Chlamydia trachomatis and unexplained infertility in men.

Methods: Questionnaires and serum were collected prospectively from 52 case subjects (men from couples with explicitly defined idiopathic infertility) and 79 control subjects (first-time expectant fathers).

Results: Case subjects were significantly more likely than control subjects to be seropositive for antibody to C trachomatis at a titer of 1:64 or higher. By test of trend, higher titers were associated with higher odds ratios. Adjustment for age of either partner at initiation of pregnancy attempt, race, income, previous genitourinary symptoms or diagnoses, number of previous sexual partners, and barrier contraceptive use had no significant effect on the estimate of the odds ratio. One half of the men who were antibody positive had no history of genitourinary symptoms.

Conclusions: Our results suggest an association between infection with C trachomatis in men and unexplained infertility and imply that infection is frequently asymptomatic.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chlamydia Infections / complications*
  • Chlamydia trachomatis*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / etiology*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male