Telehealth enables physicians to address a broad spectrum of diagnoses related to male infertility

Washington, D.C.- Researchers from Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor have found that video visits can be used effectively with established patients to manage a broad spectrum of diagnoses that contribute to male infertility. In this study, 70 video visits between August 21, 2017 to March 17, 2020 were completed by 56 men at the median age of 36 (age 32 - 40); 78.5% were white, and most patients were referred by their primary care provider or their partner’s reproductive endocrinologist (47% and 33%, respectively). Most men were diagnosed with endocrinologic (29%) or anatomic (21%) contributors to infertility (see Table1A in abstract for full diagnostic categories).  

The researchers also found that video visits are a patient-centric modality that reduces travel and financial burdens. 98% of patients from the same research cohort were first-time video-visit users, suggesting that men are amenable to using telehealth for male infertility care. There were a total of 49 unique occupations among the 56 men. 32% were blue collar workers and 68% were white collar workers. Video visits allowed patients to save a median of 80 miles and 97 minutes of travel per visit. By not having to miss a half or full day of work, patients potentially avoided a median of $102 to $205 in lost wages, respectively. Total estimated savings in wages to patients was $14,539 (half day off) to $22,206 (full day off). 

“With the rapid expansion of virtual visits, it will be very important for insurers to continue to cover telehealth, as they would in-person care. Unfortunately, we’re starting to see some insurers end benefits for virtual visits, increasing financial and logistical burdens. ASRM is actively advocating for insurance companies to ensure telehealth coverage long term regardless of the type of care being received.” Said Marcelle Cedars, MD, Vice President of ASRM. 

For almost a century, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has been the global leader in multidisciplinary reproductive medicine research, ethical practice, and education. ASRM impacts reproductive care and science worldwide by creating funding opportunities for advancing reproduction research and discovery, by providing evidence-based education and public health information, and by advocating for reproductive health care professionals and the patients they serve. With members in more than 100 countries, the Society is headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional operations in Birmingham, AL. www.asrm.org

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National statistics from SART member clinics that reported their data through SART.