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06-04-2006 | Thyroid | Article

No increased risk of thyroid dysfunction, autoimmunity in subfertile men


Free abstract

Thyroid disorders and thyroid autoimmunity (TAI) do not seem to influence male fertility, scientists from Belgium have observed.

Bearing these findings in mind, the researchers say: "There does not seem to be any justification to recommend systematic screening for thyroid function and TAI in men of subfertile couples consulting a tertiary referral center."

Explaining the background to their study, they write in the European Journal of Endocrinology: "Data on the prevalence of thyroid disorders in male subfertility remain scarce."

Kris Poppe, from the Free University Brussels, and co-workers therefore investigated the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and TAI in 292 men who were stratified according to the presence of normal (n=39) or abnormal (n=253) semen characteristics, which were determined using World Health Organization criteria.

Thyroid function was evaluated by serum thyrotropin (TSH) and free thyroxine (FT4) levels, and TAI was defined as the presence of more than 34 kU/l thyroid peroxidase antibodies. Both of these characteristics were correlated with semen profiles.

There was no difference in the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction and TAI between the two groups of men.

Specifically, men with abnormal semen characteristics had lower average serum TSH levels than those with normal semen, at 1.3 and 1.6 mU/l, respectively, with average FT4 levels at 12.5 and 12.2 ng/l.

"On the basis of these data, we do not advise systematic screening for thyroid disorders in subfertile men consulting a tertiary referral center for reproductive medicine," Poppe et al reiterate.