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Hum Reprod. 2005 Oct;20(10):2909-15. Epub 2005 Jul 15.

Fecundability according to male serum inhibin B--a prospective study among first pregnancy planners.

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Department of Occupational Medicine, University Hospital of Aarhus, Aarhus Sygehus, Denmark.



New biological markers of male fecundity are needed for use in large-scale epidemiological studies. We studied the association between male inhibin B and fecundability.


Four hundred and thirty Danish couples without previous reproductive experience were followed from termination of contraception until pregnancy or for a maximum of six menstrual cycles. At enrolment we obtained semen samples (n = 418) and blood samples to measure reproductive hormones, including inhibin B (n = 343).


The fecundability odds ratio for an increment of male inhibin B by 1 log pg/ml was 1.428 (95% confidence interval 1.022-1.994), adjusted for factors influencing the crude estimate. Only inhibin B values below 100 pg/ml were strongly related to fecundability. We designed a receiver operating characteristic curve based on the 29 males with serum inhibin B #100 pg/ml. The area under the curve (AUC) for inhibin B was 0.787 and the corresponding AUCs for sperm density and FSH were 0.913 and 0.800, respectively.


Serum inhibin B may be a reliable marker of male fecundity for epidemiological research and may have some advantages over sperm density. Our findings do not support the replacement of sperm density by male inhibin B when obtaining sperm data is an option.

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