Sexual Function and Quality of Life in the Male Partner of Infertile Couples: Prevalence and Correlates of Dysfunction

Alan W Shindel, Christian J. Nelson, Cathy K. Naughton, Michael Ohebshalom, John P. Mulhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Scopus citations


Purpose: We prospectively collected data on mental and physical health related quality of life as well as sexual and relationship function in couples presenting for the treatment of infertility. Materials and Methods: Infertile couples were invited to complete a demographic survey, the Short Form 36 and the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Inventory. Male partners completed the International Index of Erectile Function and the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality scale. Female partners completed the Female Sexual Function Index and a version of the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale modified for women. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to assess for associations between partner responses. Results: A total of 121 couples were enrolled at 2 sites. Male partners reported significantly lower standardized scores on the Mental Health subscale of the Short Form 36 (mean 47.6, p <0.05) compared to normative values. Of the men surveyed 11% and 12% reported moderate or severe depression, respectively. There were 18% who had mild erectile dysfunction and 4% had moderate erectile dysfunction. The mean transformed score for the Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale in our subjects was 29.44 (range 0 to 100). In multivariate analysis white race and partner Female Sexual Function Index score were significant predictors of International Index of Erectile Function Erectile Function Domain scores (p <0.01). Relationship duration and partner Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale scores were significantly associated with male Self-Esteem and Relationship Quality Scale score on multivariate analysis. Conclusions: Depression, erectile dysfunction and sexual relationship problems are prevalent among male partners of infertile couples. Partner sexual function is a significant predictor of male partner sexual function. Relationship duration and female partner assessment of relationship health are predictive of men's assessment of their relationship status.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1056-1059
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes



  • infertility
  • physiological
  • quality of life
  • sex
  • sexual dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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