Tuesday December 7 6:03 PM ET

Viagra can aid infertility treatment

NEW YORK, Dec 07 (Reuters Health) -- Much of the buzz about the anti-impotence drug Viagra has centered on its ability to recharge sex lives, but the medication also may be helpful for couples who are undergoing treatment for infertility, researchers in Israel report.

When a couple tries unsuccessfully to conceive a child, it is not uncommon for the man to have trouble achieving an erection for psychological reasons, according to a report in the December issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility.  Clearly, since some infertility treatments involve collecting a sample of the man's semen, this problem does not make conception any easier.

According to a team of researchers led by Dr. Boris Kaplan,
of the Rabin Medical Center in Israel, however, Viagra
may help these couples. In a study of 10 couples undergoing treatment for infertility, eight men were able to have an erection and to ejaculate after taking Viagra. By the end of the study, three of the women became pregnant.

Two of the men, however, were only able to achieve an erection after taking a higher dose of the drug. Although none of the men reported any serious side effects, the men taking the higher dose did complain of a mild headache.

SOURCE: Fertility and Sterility 1999;72:1144-1145.