Antioxidant Supplementation May Improve Male Fertility

Increase in live births and pregnancy rate with use of antioxidants by the male partner

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Antioxidant supplementation in subfertile men may increase the likelihood of pregnancy and live births for couples undergoing assisted reproduction techniques, according to a review published online Jan. 19 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Marian G. Showell, M.P.H., from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues searched databases, published literature, trial registers, and unpublished literature, and consulted with fertility experts in order to evaluate the effect of oral antioxidant supplementation on male partners of couples undergoing assisted reproduction techniques. Randomized controlled trials comparing antioxidant supplementation with placebo, no treatment, or other antioxidants were included.

The investigators identified a total of 34 trials, which included a total of 2,876 couples, for their analyses. Based on three trials looking at live births, representing 214 couples with 20 births, men taking oral antioxidant supplementation had a statistically significant increase in live-birth rate (pooled odds ratio [OR], 4.85), compared with men taking a placebo. Antioxidant supplementation was associated with a significant increase in the pregnancy rate (pooled OR, 4.18), based on the analysis of another 15 trials, which included 964 couples with 96 pregnancies.

"When trying to conceive as part of an assisted reproductive program, it may be advisable to encourage the male partner to take an oral antioxidant supplement to improve his partner's chance of conceiving. More research is required to further substantiate these conclusions," the authors write.

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