Male Infertility

Infertility also affects men’s stress levels and sexual functioning

A new study, presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Annual Meeting in October, suggests that for men who have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for over a year, the very days in the middle of the cycle when their partners are supposed to be most fertile, can be particularly stressful for men with sexual problems such as impotence being quite common during this time.

The study was conducted in South Korea with 236 male partners of couples seeking fertility treatment or testing after not being able to conceive after a year of trying. The results indicated that almost half of the men experienced some form of erectile dysfunction (ED). 42% of men reported mild erectile dysfunction, while 9% reported mild-to-moderate ED. Only 6% were using medication for ED during the fertile period. Not surprisingly, with increased pressure to sexually perform, the men reported significantly higher levels of stress during their partners’ fertile period, in comparison to other times during the month.

Paul J. Turek, MD, President of the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology, said of the findings:

“Men can feel a lot of pressure to perform when sex is “scheduled” during fertile periods.  And this stress is compounded by the underlying stress of infertility and the recurring disappointment of trying and failing to conceive month after month.  This research has begun to quantify this well-recognized phenomenon in men. Men should be reassured that it’s normal to feel stressed under these circumstances and there is nothing wrong with taking drugs to address erectile dysfunction.”

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