Does Testosterone make you more Fertile?
by Benjamin Bunting BA(Hons) PGCert
Written by Ben Bunting: BA, PGCert. (Sport & Exercise Nutrition) // British Army Physical Training Instructor // S&C Coach.
Men struggling with infertility often search for effective solutions with difficulty; one potential answer has garnered much media coverage: testosterone.
But is this hormone truly capable of increasing men's fertility? We explore the science of testosterone and its impact on male fertility in this article.
As testosterone is well known as an essential male sex hormone responsible for creating masculine characteristics, but its impact on fertility remains an ongoing topic of research debate among scientists.
While some studies indicate that testosterone supplementation may enhance sperm production and motility, others warn against excessive doses as this could diminish fertility.
As part of our investigation into these conflicting findings, we will look at recent research regarding testosterone therapy benefits and risks for men suffering with infertility.
By delving deep into the science and limits surrounding testosterone and fertility, our hope is to offer clarity and inform individuals making decisions regarding reproductive health.
Join us as we uncover truth behind testosterone's correlation with male fertility!
Understanding male fertility role of testosterone
Testosterone is an essential male sexual hormone, essential to the production of sperm, libido and fertility.
Mainly produced in men's testes, low levels can lead to decreased sperm count and fertility issues; many with low testosterone opt for supplementation as a remedy; it's important that men with low levels understand its impact before proceeding with any course of treatment.
Testosterone plays an essential role in stimulating follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), two essential elements for optimal sperm production.
Testosterone also assists bone development and hair growth, helping men improve libido and increase muscle mass.
Most men experience low testosterone as they age, commonly known as hypogonadism.
This condition can result in symptoms including low sperm counts, fatigue and decreased libido.
Causes for hypogonadism may include natural aging processes, stressors such as alcohol consumption or marijuana usage, delayed puberty onset or kidney disease treatment protocols as well as cancer therapies.
Although testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can increase libido, it may also decrease sperm production.
TRT may also bring other risks including heart issues and prostate cancer cell growth; fortunately, using human chorionic gonadotropin and testosterone supplements together can preserve fertility in men with low testosterone and hypogonadism.
The impact of testosterone on sperm production
Testosterone plays a critical role in male reproductive processes, including sperm production.
Therefore, men need adequate levels of this hormone for fertility purposes. Unfortunately, certain conditions can reduce testosterone levels and have an adverse impact on fertility - for instance radiation therapy, chemotherapy and steroid medications as well as hypogonadism which causes reduced muscle bulk and bone density as well as decreased energy and increased body fat.
If a man is experiencing symptoms of low testosterone, it may be beneficial to consult their physician.
Blood tests can be run to identify low iron or genetic conditions (such as Klinefelter's syndrome) that obstruct production from his pituitary gland - all possible contributors.
As noted previously, testosterone supplements or therapy may have an adverse impact on sperm production.
This occurs as testosterone administered through supplements or injections is introduced directly into the bloodstream and causes its presence to trick the brain into thinking there is plenty of this hormone already present, leading it to stop sending signals to testicles to produce more testosterone production, potentially lowering sperm counts in turn.
Research studies on testosterone male fertility
Testosterone is a key hormone in men, playing an integral part in everything from sperm production to libido and beyond.
Unfortunately, men suffering from low testosterone (also known as hypogonadism) may experience various symptoms that negatively impact fertility: decreased libido, fatigue, decreased strength and muscle mass as well as difficulty concentrating and sleeping may all have an adverse impact.
Furthermore, low levels can decrease sperm production which in turn may result in infertility.
Men may be taken aback to discover that taking testosterone supplements or replacing their natural testosterone with TRT won't increase their sperm count; rather, this increases body-wide testosterone production which inhibits sperm production.
As any male planning to have children knows, ensuring the hormonal balance required for healthy sperm production requires careful balance among multiple hormones - specifically GnRH hormones, estrogen receptor modulators and aromatase inhibitors - the goal being restoring that delicate hormonal equilibrium to ensure successful childbearing.
A male fertility specialist can be invaluable here - with guidance provided from them regarding treatments or medications necessary.
Dietary changes, supplements that support sperm production and medications like GnRH hormones/estrogen receptor modulators/aromatase inhibitors/ aromatase inhibitors being combined into one treatment plan to restore this delicate hormonal equilibrium that is necessary for optimal fertility and preservation of fertility; ultimately.
TRT and its effect on fertility
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can severely diminish fertility and significantly decrease sperm counts, due to disruption of natural hormone production by exogenous testosterone.
Therefore, patients and physicians should engage in an in-depth discussion regarding fertility plans before commencing TRT treatment.
Men taking TRT may experience an overwhelming decrease in their sperm counts and fertility, often to such an extent that healthy production cannot resume.
The only way to restore levels and fertility may be by discontinuing TRT and waiting for their natural testosterone production process to return; this process could take up to a year or more!
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), which mimics LH in the body and prompts testes to produce more testosterone, may help patients undergoing TRT reduce its effects.
Studies have also shown that taking hCG alongside TRT can speed sperm count recovery after stopping TRT; nasal gel versions of hCG have proven particularly helpful and convenient options are also available for people who struggle with swallowing pills.
Lifestyle factors that can affect fertility
Lifestyle factors can significantly impede fertility for both women and men. Some can be controlled, helping improve fertility while others cannot be modified; yet all can negatively impact it.
Some common factors contributing to infertility include pelvic adhesions (bands of scar tissue that bind organs), cancer treatments as well as abdominal or pelvic surgery, all which may interfere with ovulation and sperm production.
Age or hormonal imbalances could also play a part.
Men with low testosterone levels may also find fertility is compromised due to low levels of this essential hormone, needed for producing quality sperm.
If a man taking doctor-prescribed testosterone therapy and planning on reproducing would like, he should consult his health care provider about potential options and discuss these with them before making his decisions.
Additionally, men should avoid over-the-counter testosterone boosters as these can increase testosterone levels too much and interfere with follicle stimulating hormone levels and affect sperm production.
Anabolic steroids are another medication which may impact fertility; thus it would be best if these were discontinued prior to trying for pregnancy.
Finally, frequent vigorous physical activity may prevent ovulation while simultaneously decreasing progesterone production in their bodies.
Natural ways to increase testosterone levels
Testosterone plays an integral part in male health, such as libido, erectile function, sperm production, bone density, muscle mass and mood stability.
Low levels can result in fatigue, erectile dysfunction weight gain and reduced fertility; thankfully there are natural ways to increase testosterone and increase your chances of pregnancy.
Testosterone replacement therapy carries some risks, including cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer.
But these risks can be reduced through lifestyle choices. To lower your testosterone risk, follow a healthy diet that emphasizes whole foods over processed ones; also exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight.
While diet may play an essential role, natural supplements can also help increase testosterone levels.
Tongkat Ali is an herb known to boost libido and enhance sexual function; zinc is essential in supporting healthy sperm production and testosterone function; fenugreek is an aphrodisiac known to boost motility.
Alternative treatments for male fertility
Many men born as male at birth (AMAB) experience fertility issues due to low testosterone levels.
Thankfully, this does not preclude them and their partners from becoming parents; simply take steps that increase your chances of success in order to increase chances of conception.
First and foremost, visit a reproductive endocrinologist. They can assess your testosterone levels and prescribe the necessary dose of hormones that will help you conceive more successfully.
Injections of human chorionic gonadotropin have proven particularly effective at increasing testosterone and sperm production in men with low sperm counts.
Natural solutions may also help increase testosterone levels and enhance sperm quality, with zinc supplements having been shown to increase count and motility among men with low testosterone levels.
Urtica dioica contains iron, iodine, calcium and other key fertility-supportive elements; additionally studies have revealed fenugreek can improve both sperm morphology and motility as well.
Testosterone plays an essential part in male fertility. It increases libido, boosts lean body mass gains and stimulates sperm production while also controlling the follicles that hold and release eggs during ovulation.
Rare genetic disorders like Klinefelter syndrome may lower testosterone levels significantly.
Low testosterone can result in numerous symptoms, such as erectile problems, weight gain, breast growth (gynecomastia), facial hair loss and body hair thinning as well as depression and anxiety.
Thankfully, there are lifestyle changes, and natural supplements that can aid in balancing hormones, and improving fertility markers.