Epidemiological Considerations in Male Infertility



The diagnosis of male infertility indicates impairment in male reproductive potential. Unfortunately, there is no gold standard test for assessing male reproductive potential. The diagnostic accuracy of semen analysis is compromised by substantial overlap between the distributions of semen characteristics in empirically fertile and infertile men. Novel assays, including seminal reactive oxygen species levels, may prove to be of greater clinical utility for identifying men with below-average reproductive potential. Efforts to identify and treat modifiable risk factors should ideally be targeted toward these individuals. Although economic analyses have demonstrated that pathology-directed treatment for male infertility is often more cost-effective than immediate use of assisted reproductive technology, there is a declining trend in surgical treatment of male infertility.


Male infertility Incidence and prevalence of infertility Infertility in developing world Epidemiology of infertility Reactive oxygen species Novel diagnostic assays Semen studies 



The author would like to thank Kelli M. Mulder-Westrate and Ranya N. Sweis for critically reviewing several drafts of this chapter and offering helpful advice. Jonathan L. Faasse and Kristin M. Faasse provided valuable assistance with the figures.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyUniversity of Illinois at ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of UrologyUniversity of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and Department of Bioengineering, University of Illinois at Chicago College of EngineeringChicagoUSA

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