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Research project  |  Inflammunity and fertility in men.


Status: Ongoing project, inclusion closed

Research project focusing on understanding the effects of immune-mediated diseases and immunosuppressive drug exposure on male fertility and reproduction.

What we do

About our project

To improve the care for men with arthritis and a wish to conceive, a specialized outpatient clinic was established at the department of Rheumatology.

The goal of the iFAME project is to determine what are the effects of immune-mediated disease and immunosuppressive drug exposure on many aspects of male sexual health such as: sexual function, fertility and reproduction.

With our current ongoing research projects we expect to set the foundations on future research regarding this important and previously neglected topic. 


Our research focus

Men with immune-mediated diseases and a wish to become a father represent an important neglected population. The question on how they should be treated to improve (or at least not impair) their chances of achieving a successful pregnancy and a healthy offspring remains a challenge for physicians and researchers all around the world.

We published the results of an extensive systematic review on the topic where we concluded that rheumatic diseases and male sexual health should not be considered anymore as being unrelated conditions. 

In order to improve our current knowledge on the topic and to evaluate male sexual health as a whole, our project consisted of several studies that evaluated the following outcomes of interest:

1. Immunosuppressive drug exposure and male reproductive toxicology.
2. Sexual health in men diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis. 
3. Fertility in men diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis.
4. Pregnancy outcomes of partners of men diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis.

We are currently working on the next phase of this project with the objective of answering new questions that are relevant for patients and health care professionals.



Paternal inflammatory arthritis is associated with a higher risk of miscarriage: results of a large multicenter study (iFAME-Fertility)
Perez-Garcia LF, Röder E, Smeele HTW, et al.
Rheumatology (Oxford). 2021 Dec 7:keab910. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/keab910. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34875039.

Impaired fertility in men diagnosed with inflammatory arthritis: results of a large multicentre study (iFAME-Fertility)
Perez-Garcia LF, Röder E, Goekoop RJ, et al.
Ann Rheum Dis. 2021 Dec;80(12):1545-1552. doi: 10.1136/annrheumdis-2021-220709. Epub 2021 Aug 9. PMID: 34373257; PMCID: PMC8600610.

It is not just about sex: viewpoints of men with inflammatory arthritis on the overall impact of the disease on their sexual health
Perez-Garcia LF, Röder E, Pastoor H, Bolt JM, van Exel J, Dolhain RJEM.
RMD Open. 2021 Sep;7(3):e001821. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2021-001821. PMID: 34580174; PMCID: PMC8477326.

The effect of paternal exposure to immunosuppressive drugs on sexual function, reproductive hormones, fertility, pregnancy and offspring outcomes: a systematic review.
Perez-Garcia LF, Dolhain RJEM, Vorstenbosch S, et al.
Hum Reprod Update. 2020 Nov 1;26(6):961-1001. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmaa022. PMID: 32743663; PMCID: PMC7600290.

Sexual function and reproduction can be impaired in men with rheumatic diseases: A systematic review.
Perez-Garcia LF, Te Winkel B, Carrizales JP, et al.
Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2020 Jun;50(3):557-573. doi: 10.1016/j.semarthrit.2020.02.002. Epub 2020 Feb 14. PMID: 32165034.

Male Sexual Health and Reproduction in Cutaneous Immune-Mediated Diseases: A Systematic Review.
Perez-Garcia LF, Dolhain R, Te Winkel B, et al.
Sex Med Rev. 2021 Jul;9(3):423-433. doi: 10.1016/j.sxmr.2020.07.004. Epub 2020 Sep 1. PMID: 32883623.

Our team

Contact us: ifame@erasmusmc.nl


Prof. Radboud Dolhain, MD PhD

Esther Röder, MD PhD

Luis Perez, MD

Hetty Wintjes

Anneke van Steensel - Boon

Ron Buijs