Intended for healthcare professionals


Male infertility linked to risk of prostate cancer

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 25 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5525

Linked research

Risk of prostate cancer for men fathering through assisted reproduction

Linked opinion

Assisted reproduction and risk of prostate cancer for men

  1. Aditi Sharma, clinical research fellow and specialist trainee in endocrinology1,
  2. Channa N Jayasena, reader and consultant in reproductive endocrinology and andrology2
  1. 1Section of Investigative Medicine, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2Department of Andrology, Hammersmith Hospital, North-West London Pathology and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: C N Jayasena c.jayasena{at}

The mechanism isn’t clear but abnormalities on the Y chromosome are in the frame

Poor sperm function (male infertility) causes nearly half of all infertility. The observation that poor sperm function is commonly associated with developmental genitourinary defects such as cryptorchidism suggests that male infertility could be a risk marker for later disease. Unfortunately, we know little about the natural history of male infertility beyond reproductive life, owing to historical social stigma experienced by affected men. Studies shedding light on the future health of infertile men should be welcomed, and in the linked paper (doi:10.1136/bmj.l5214) Al-Jebari and colleagues report analyses of registry data from the whole population of Sweden over 20 years. Their results provide the strongest evidence to date that risk of prostate cancer may be increased in infertile men. Importantly though, a causal relation cannot be assumed.1

Al-Jebari and colleagues included 1.2 million men in Sweden who fathered a first born child during the …

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