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Sexual dysfunction and depression among Turkish women with infertile husbands: the invisible part of the iceberg

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To determine the effect of male infertility on the sexual functions and level of depression among Turkish women.


Fifty-six women with an infertile partner (exposed) and 48 women who conceived and gave birth without treatment (unexposed) were included in this study. The Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were used to determine sexual function and depression status. Statistical analyses were performed by independent samples t, Fischer’s exact, and Mann–Whitney U tests.


There were no significant differences in terms of demographic characteristics between groups except that unexposed women had received education for longer period of time (11.6 vs. 7.1 years, p = 0.001). Mean FSFI scores were 19.1 ± 5.5 for the exposed and 20.0 ± 3.4 for the unexposed group. The scores of sexual desire domain (3.4 ± 1.2 vs. 2.7 ± 1.2, p < 0.05), sexual dysfunction in the axis of lubrication (3.6 ± 1.4 vs. 4.0 ± 0.2, p = 0.039), and pain (4.1 ± 1.9 vs. 5.4 ± 0.8, p = 0.001) were found to be significantly higher in women with an infertile partner. According to BDI scores, these women were feeling more depressed (9.7 ± 7.3 vs. 1.4 ± 2.8, p = 0.001) than the unexposed group.


Comparison of these groups indicated similar levels of sexual dysfunction. Nonetheless, we found that women with infertile partners experienced sexual problems related to lubrication and pain, even though they were in the initial stages of the treatment process for infertility. Exposed group had also higher level of depression than the unexposed group.

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Author contributions

Protocol/project development was done by Dr. Orhan and Dr. Ozkan. Data collection and management were done by Dr. Orhan and Dr. Aktas. Data analyses were done by Dr. Orhan and Dr. Coskuner. Manuscript writing was done by Dr. Ozkan and Dr. Orhan.

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Correspondence to Burak Ozkan.

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The authors report no conflict of interest.

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Ozkan, B., Orhan, E., Aktas, N. et al. Sexual dysfunction and depression among Turkish women with infertile husbands: the invisible part of the iceberg. Int Urol Nephrol 48, 31–36 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11255-015-1142-6

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  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Depression
  • Infertility
  • Turkish women