TUESDAY, Aug. 10, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Inflammatory arthritis (IA) may impair male fertility, and men diagnosed before and during the peak of reproductive age have a lower fertility rate and higher rate of childlessness, according to a study published online Aug. 9 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

Luis Fernando Perez-Garcia, M.D., from Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues performed a multicenter cross-sectional study to examine the impact of IA on male fertility outcomes. Men with IA aged 40 years or older who indicated that their family size was complete were invited to participate and completed a questionnaire including demographic, medical, and fertility-related questions. Data were included for 628 men diagnosed with IA.

The researchers found that men diagnosed at age 30 years or younger had a significantly lower mean number of children than those diagnosed between 31 and 40 years of age and 41 years or older (1.32 versus 1.60 and 1.88, respectively). Compared with men diagnosed at age 41 years or older, statistically significantly higher percentages of men diagnosed at 30 years or younger and at 31 to 40 years were involuntarily childless (3.98 percent versus 12.03 and 10.34 percent, respectively) and reported having received medical evaluations for fertility problems (11.36 percent versus 20.61 and 20.69 percent, respectively).

“The diagnosis of IA before or during the peak of reproductive age can result in impaired male fertility,” the authors write. “Rheumatologists should be aware of this novel association and approach their patients accordingly.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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