It might be surprising, but there is a link between testosterone use and infertility in men
Male infertility can be complex because there isn’t just one or two things that can cause it. Injuries, surgeries and medical conditions can be responsible. Lifestyle factors, including taking testosterone, can also make it more difficult for a man to father a child. Many men are shocked when they learn there is a link between testosterone use and infertility in men.
It seems strange that a supplement that makes someone look more masculine could make them less fertile. However, our San Antonio infertility doctor will tell you that the research says just that. Thankfully, Erika Munch MD offers effective treatments for patients hoping to become fathers.
Taking a deeper look at the relationship between testosterone use and infertility
Many men take workout supplements trying to increase their muscle mass and strength. However, anabolic steroids can cause problems with fertility. Testosterone and its derivatives can lower sperm counts significantly, sometimes to zero.
When a man takes testosterone and similar substances, the brain interprets the increase in testosterone as coming from the testicles. As a result, the brain reduces stimulation of the testicles. Doing so leads to a decrease in the production of both testosterone and sperm. Over time, testosterone use can cause the testicles to shrink and sperm counts to fall to zero.
Essentially, giving a man testosterone is similar to giving a woman estrogen in the form of a birth control pill. Supplemental estrogen in women usually blocks ovulation, while testosterone will reduce sperm production. This link between testosterone use and infertility is less than ideal if a man is trying to conceive with his partner.
Dr. Munch offers several treatments for male infertility
Once a man stops taking testosterone, there is some variability in how long it takes testicular function to return. In some cases, a man will see his fertility return after being off testosterone for about three months. However, it may take longer if a man has been taking it for a long time. Additionally, in some rare cases, a man’s fertility may not return at all.
Because each man is different, our San Antonio infertility doctor develops customized treatment plans for male infertility. Dr. Munch may recommend fertility medications or treatment like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF). In cases where a man’s fertility does not return, donor sperm can help make fatherhood possible.
If you have more questions about testosterone use and infertility, contact us to schedule an appointment. Our San Antonio infertility doctor can help you learn more and explore your options for treating male infertility.