MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
MRC Logo JAN 2019

Core Outcome Measures for Infertility Trials (COMMIT) - Male Infertility

A global initiative to develop a core outcome set for future male fertility trials led by clinicians, researchers and men with infertility.

Male factor infertility study


Core Outcome Measures for Infertility Trials (COMMIT)


Our Goal

We are looking to improve research into male infertility to enable healthcare professionals and researchers to provide better treatments for men with infertility.


What is the problem?

Male factor infertility is a contributing factor in half of all couples who experience infertility. This is when a couple have been unable to become pregnant, despite 12 months of regular sexual intercourse. Infertility affects up to 1 in 6 couples trying to become pregnant. 

Many new treatments for male infertility have been proposed in recent years; however, robust evidence as to how effective they are is variable. One way to assess these treatments is through randomised controlled trials, considered to be the gold standard study design to generate high quality evidence.

Combining evidence from different trials studying the same treatment, called a meta-analysis, means researchers can increase their confidence in the results. How data from several trials can be collected and analysed is limited by what outcomes these trials report.

Work to agree and standardise what clinical outcomes male infertility trials should report, or how these outcomes should be defined, is lacking. This can lead to researchers making arbitrary decisions on which outcomes to report in clinical trials. The range of different outcomes reported means it is challenging to combine the results of different trials which limits their potential to inform clinical practice.


Our Objective

We have formed a multinational group of healthcare professionals, researchers and men with infertility to lead this initiative.

These outcomes, called a core outcome set, will be developed by those with experience in male infertility. We welcome input from healthcare professionals, researchers and men with infertility to help identify the outcomes which should be reported in future male infertility trials.

This initiative will form an extension to the recently developed core outcome set for infertility trials, which lacked relevant stakeholder representation for male infertility. Once published, this outcome set will form part of the CROWN initiative, a researcher-led drive to harmonise outcome reporting in women's and newborn health research, currently adopted by over 80 peer-reviewed journals.


Our goal is to develop a core outcome set to be used in all future male infertility trials.


Our Team

This initiative is being led by a core team of 45 international researchers, healthcare professionals and patient advocacy groups with expertise and experience in male infertility.


Our core working group includes:

Professor Craig Niederberger – University of Illinois, USA – Chair

Professor Cindy Farquhar – University of Auckland & Cochrane Gynecology and Fertility, New Zealand

Dr Michael Rimmer – MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, University of Edinburgh, UK – Lead

Dr Ruth Howie – NHS Lothian, UK

Dr James Duffy – Kings Fertility, UK


How to get involved

We are seeking the input from healthcare professionals, researchers and men with infertility to help prioritise the outcomes trials should report. This will be done in a two-stage process using an online platform – all responses for this will be anonymous.

If you would like any further information or wish to contribute to this core outcome set, please get in touch via:


Dr Michael Rimmer

  • MRC Centre for Reproductive Health
  • University of Edinburgh

Contact details