Timing, characteristics and determinants of infertility diagnostic work up before admission to eleven second-level assisted reproductive techniques (ART) centres in Italy

Mauro Costa, Francesca Chiaffarino, Cristofaro De Stefano, Fabio Parazzini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To describe the time-course of infertile couples not conceiving spontaneously or with medical or surgical therapies before assisted reproductive techniques (ART). Study design: Multicentre study of consecutive couples seen for the first time in eleven second-level infertility centres in Italy. A total of 464 couples entered the study and completed a structured questionnaire with the assistance of a clinician. Information was collected on general characteristics, reproductive and gynaecological history, and presumed causes of infertility. Further information was collected on: date of first trying for pregnancy and first consultation for infertility; doctor first consulted by the couple and who decided the diagnostic work-up; instrumental and laboratory tests performed during the diagnostic work-up. Results: The first medical consultation for infertility occurred after an average of 13 months of unprotected intercourse. This interval was statistically significantly longer for women with low educational level. The median interval between the first medical consultation and the consultation in a second-level infertility centre was 9.5 months. This interval was shorter when the first clinician consulted was a specialist in infertility working in a first-level public centre. Moreover, this interval was longer among women with low educational level. At the time of the consultation in a second-level infertility centre, most of the female patients had already been examined for ovarian, hypophyseal and thyroid function, but only 12% had undergone an anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) determination: 56% had microbiological culture performed. Nearly 40% had been studied for tubal patency and karyotype. More than 50% of the male partners had not a complete semen evaluation, but 46.0% had second-level examinations. Conclusion: Educational level is linked to a higher possibility of recognizing fertility problems. The referral process to a second-level centre is quicker in the public sector.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Biology
Volume167
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013

Keywords

  • Diagnosis
  • Help seeking
  • Infertility
  • Treatment seeking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Reproductive Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Timing, characteristics and determinants of infertility diagnostic work up before admission to eleven second-level assisted reproductive techniques (ART) centres in Italy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this