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Male subfertility: is pregnancy the only issue?

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1405

Psychological responses matter too—and are different in men

  1. L Glover, Clinical psychologist,
  2. P D Abel, Reader in urology,
  3. K Gannon, senior lecturer in behavioural science
  1. Departments of Gastrointestinal Surgery and Reproductive Medicine, Hammersmith and Queen Charlotte's NHS Trust, Imperial College School of Medicine, London W12 0NN
  2. Department of Human Science and Medical Ethics, St Bartholomew's and Royal London Hospital School of Medicine and Dentistry, London E1 2AD

    The management of male subfertility is changing radically. The advent of intracytoplasmic sperm injection in particular has given some men the chance to father children even when they have no sperm in their ejaculate. However, the focus on pregnancy as the most important outcome of subfertility treatment appears to have taken place to the exclusion of other outcomes, such as the psychological well being of the couple and, in particular, of the man. Traditionally the little research there has been into psychological responses has focused on women. Recently a start has been made in redressing this imbalance, and it appears that men's experiences of, and responses to, subfertility are fundamentally different from that of their partners.

    Recognition of the need to take into account psychological outcomes of subfertility and its management is not new but it seems to have slipped …

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