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The spotlight is on male fertility in the European Fertility week 2021

Nov 5, 2021

The first week of November marks the European Fertility Week – and this year, for the first time ever, it is shedding light on male infertility issues and men’s health.

More than 25 million citizens in the European Union are facing fertility issues today with male factor infertility occurring in around 40% of all infertile couples.

“The topic of male infertility is a big taboo and men are often left outside the discussion about their own sexual and reproductive health” – explains Satu Rautakallio-Hokkanen, Fertility Europe’s Executive Committee Chair. – “To reduce stigma and normalise the discussion around male fertility and sexual health, more awareness and education on male and female sexual and reproductive health is needed” – she added in connection with the ‘challenge the odds’ campaign.

A ReproUnion supported study also highlights the need for educational strategies to improve young men’s knowledge about fertility and the factors that influence it. The study was published in Human Fertility and presented at a ReproUnion webinar earlier this year.

“In this qualitative study we wanted to explore childless young men’s reflections on fertility and infertility, and we found out that few had considered their own fertility and that the men had inadequate knowledge about factors that can potentially impair male and female fertility, including sexually transmitted infections,” commented Gritt Marie Hviid Malling, Research Fellow at the Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen.

ReproUnion postdoc Maja Bodin also highlighted the need to start focusing on awareness in relation to the male partner when she presented at the 2020 International Andrology Conference.

“In one of our studies, we talked to 201 men aged 18-50 about fertility and lifestyle as well as their future reproductive intentions. 27% reported back, that they had never thought about it before and we clearly experienced how the format for fertility education/care for men needs to be developed,” commented Maja Bodin about her findings in the study: Can Reproductive Life Plan-based counselling increase men’s fertility awareness?

Maja Bodin has also been leading on the recently published ReproUnion study Precondition to parenthood: changes over time and generations, which she will present at an upcoming Research Seminar hosted by ReproYoung.