A longer duration of infertility was associated with lower sperm count and other parameters of impaired sperm in a BJU International study of 1644 infertile men. Also, older age and higher body mass index were associated with a longer duration of infertility.
Approximately 15 percent of couples of reproductive age fail to achieve a wanted pregnancy within a 12-month period, despite regular unprotected sexual intercourse. Prolonged infertility has been considered a psychosocial stress for the infertile couple that may lead to poor marital adjustment and decreased quality of life, but the potential role of the duration of infertility in terms of couple's reproductive health remains understudied.
"Our results suggest that duration of infertility should be considered a potential risk factor for impaired sperm parameters in infertile men. Also, infertile couples should be made aware of the associations found in this study," said lead author Dr. Luca Boeri, of IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital and University Vita-Salute San Raffaele, in Italy.