Almost half of infertility cases involve male infertility. Understanding the consequence of a diagnosis of male infertility, as a sole or partial contributor to the couples' infertility, to the mental health of men is required to ensure clinical care meets their psychological needs. The aim of this systematic analysis was to synthesize the evidence regarding whether men diagnosed with male factor infertility experience greater psychological distress than (1) men described as fertile and (2) men in couples with other infertility diagnoses. Online databases were searched using a combination of Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) headings and keywords relating to male infertility and psychological distress. The search yielded 1016 unique publications, of which 23 were included: 8 case-control, 14 prospective cohort, and 1 data linkage studies. Seven aspects of psychological distress were identified depression, anxiety, self-esteem, quality of life, fertility-related stress, general psychological stress or well-being, and psychiatric conditions. Case-control studies reported that men with male factor infertility have more symptoms of depression, anxiety and general psychological distress, worse quality of some aspects of life, and lower self-esteem than controls. When men with male factor infertility were compared to men in couples with other causes of infertility, there were few differences in the assessed aspects of psychological distress. Despite methodological limitations within the studies, this systematic analysis suggests that the experience of infertility, irrespective of its cause, negatively affects men's mental health and demonstrates the need for assisted reproduction technology (ART) providers to consider men undergoing assisted reproduction as individuals with their own unique support needs.
Asian journal of andrology. 2023 Aug 22 [Epub ahead of print]
Sarah N Biggs, Jane Halliday, Karin Hammarberg
Reproductive Epidemiology, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne 3052, Australia., Public Health and Preventative Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne 3004, Australia.