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Evaluation of male infertility

Alvin M Matsumoto, MD
Section Editor
Peter J Snyder, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Martin, MD


Infertility in a couple is defined as the inability to achieve conception despite one year of frequent unprotected intercourse. Use of this time period, while arbitrary, was based upon a study of 5574 English and American women engaging in unprotected coitus who ultimately conceived between 1946 and 1956 [1]. Among these women, 50 percent conceived within three months, 72 percent within six months, and 85 percent within 12 months.

One population-based study found the following distribution of causes when evaluating infertile couples [2] (see "Causes of male infertility"):

Male factor – 23 percent

Ovulatory dysfunction – 18 percent

Tubal damage – 14 percent

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Literature review current through: Sep 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 29, 2017.
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