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Background: Female sexual dysfunction (FSD) is a prevalent problem, affecting up to 41% of reproductive aged women worldwide. However, the association between female sexual function (FSF) and fecundability in women attempting to conceive remains unclear. We aimed 1) to examine the association between FSF in reproductive-aged preconception Asian women and fecundability, as measured by time-to-pregnancy in menstrual cycles, and 2) to examine lifestyle and behavioral factors associated with FSF. Methods: From the Singapore PREconception Study of long-Term maternal and child Outcomes (S-PRESTO) prospective cohort, we evaluated FSF using the 6-item Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI-6) and ascertained time-to-pregnancy within a year of baseline assessment. We estimated fecundability ratio (FR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) using the discrete-time proportional hazards model, accounting for left-truncation and right censoring. We used multivariable logistic and linear regression models to identify potential factors related to FSF. Results: Among 513 participants, 58.9% had low FSF as defined by a total FSFI-6 score at or below the median value of 22. Compared to women with high FSF, those with low FSF had a 27% reduction in fecundability (FR 0.73; 95% CI 0.54, 0.99), with adjustment for age, ethnicity, education, parity and body mass index. Overall, the FRs generally reduced with decreasing FSFI-6 scores. Physical activity, obesity, absence of probable depression and anxiety were independently associated with reduced odds of low FSF and increased FSFI-6 scores, after adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics. Conclusions: Low FSF is associated with a longer time-to-pregnancy. Early evaluation and optimization of FSF through increased physical activity and optimal mental health may help to improve female fecundity. The finding of obese women having improved FSF remains uncertain which warrants further investigations on plausibly mechanisms. In general, the current finding highlights the importance of addressing FSF in preconception care service for general women, which is currently lacking as part of the fertility promotion effort in the country.
Loy, S. L., Ku, C. W., Cheung, Y. B., Godfrey, K. M., Chong, Y. S., Shek, L. P. C., … Chan, J. K. Y. (2021). Fecundability in reproductive aged women at risk of sexual dysfunction and associated risk factors: a prospective preconception cohort study. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 21(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12884-021-03892-5