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Hum Reprod. 2012 Apr;27(4):1184-90. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der466. Epub 2012 Jan 23.

Cumulative parenthood rates in 1735 couples: impact of male factor infertility.

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Université de Toulouse, UPS, Groupe de Recherche en Fertilité Humaine (EA 3694, Human Fertility Research Group), TSA 70034, 31059 Toulouse Cedex 9, France.



Most studies assessing the outcome of assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) have reported live birth rates in couples by taking mainly the female factor into account. However, infertility is a couple's concern, and the majority of publications do not take into consideration the true impact of male infertility on having the desired number of children.


We carried out a follow-up study to evaluate the probability of having a child during treatments at the Toulouse Male Sterility Centre and after discontinuation from 2000 through 2008. Couples were followed for at least 4 years until discontinuation of treatment or delivery of a live infant.


We were able to contact 65% of the 1735 male partners by telephone. Of the 1131 respondents, 56% had become parents (60% if adoption is included), 28% after ART, 16% by natural pregnancy, 8% after non-ART treatment and 4% after ART in another centre. The cumulative rates of success reached 64% [95% confidence interval (CI), 60-67] for men ≤35 years and women ≤35 years after 9 years, and 31% (95% CI, 24-39) in older patients. With optimistic analysis, which assumes that patients for whom no information was available have the same chance of success in having a child as those whose reproductive outcome was known, the cumulative rate of success was 48% (95% CI, 45-50) in the 1735 couples.


More than half of couples consulting for male infertility succeeded in having a child. Male age over 35 years old appears as a key risk factor as well as the woman's age, and these findings should encourage couples to attempt parenthood earlier.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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