Empirical medical therapy for idiopathic male infertility: A survey of the American urological association

Edmund Y. Ko, Kashif Siddiqi, Robert E. Brannigan, Edmund S. Sabanegh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Purpose: We determined empirical medical therapy practice patterns for idiopathic infertility. Materials and Methods: We performed a survey of 7,745 practicing American Urological Association members from July to November 2010. Respondents were questioned on empirical medical therapy use, patient evaluation and selection, and preferred medications. Results: A total of 387 urologists (5%) participated in the survey, of whom 16% had infertility fellowship training, two-thirds used empirical medical therapy and 78% treated with empirical medical therapy and surgery. Laboratory values important for identifying ideal candidates include sperm concentration, serum follicle-stimulating hormone and serum testosterone. The most common medications used were clomiphene citrate, human chorionic gonadotropin and anastrozole. Of respondents 25% would treat infertile males with testosterone while the patient actively pursued pregnancy. Overall 60.5% of respondents would treat with empirical therapy for 3 to 6 months. Of fellowship trained and general urologist respondents 70% and 47%, respectively, counseled patients that empirical medical therapy has unknown effects on pregnancy and sperm count. Conclusions: Empirical medical therapy is used by two-thirds of survey respondents for idiopathic male infertility. There is no clear, universal pattern to the evaluation or identification of the ideal patient for such therapy among those surveyed. There is no consensus on the optimal medication and considerable ambiguity exists as to perceived effects on fertility. Of concern is that 25% of respondents use exogenous testosterone, a medication known for its contraceptive potential, for male infertility treatment. These findings confirm the need for additional studies to establish recommendations on the empirical use of medical therapy in the setting of male infertility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)973-978
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • health care surveys
  • infertility
  • male
  • oligospermia
  • physician's practice patterns
  • testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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