The negative effect of low-T treatments on male fertility
Low testosterone, or low-T, can cause loss of energy and a decline in a man’s sex drive, and can even contribute to erectile dysfunction, or the inability to get or maintain an erection. While you might assume that low-T treatments would improve your fertility by fixing these problems, certain treatments can actually have the opposite effect.
Our Las Vegas fertility center recommends that men with low-T stop all testosterone replacement therapy, such as injections, patches or topical gels, before trying to conceive. Although low-T treatments can improve your sex life, they can also damage a man’s ability to father a baby.
Low-T treatments and sperm count
Testosterone is a hormone that is primarily produced in the testicles and plays a key role in the production of sperm.
The effects of hormone-replacement low-T treatments on sperm are so pronounced that for many men, this therapy essentially works as birth control. In fact, testosterone replacement may cause azoospermia, or a complete absence of sperm. Such effects can usually be reversed by ceasing hormone replacement, but it may take a year or longer for sperm counts to fully recover.
For men with low testosterone who wish to father a child, other treatments are much more effective at preserving fertility while restoring sex drive.
Clomid is one medication commonly prescribed by our Las Vegas fertility center to increase sperm production. This drug works by binding to receptors in the brain, prompting production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), both of which boost testosterone production. Men prescribed Clomid typically start taking half a pill a day, with the dose adjusted over several months based on monitoring of testosterone in blood levels. Because it takes several months for sperm to develop, Clomid must be taken daily, and a repeat semen analysis performed to measure results.
For some men with low-T, gonadotropin injections may be used to improve sperm production. Rather than directly replacing testosterone that is missing in the body, these injections work by signaling the testes to produce more testosterone on their own, which may prompt the production of more sperm.
Because obesity can cause low-T, along with a counterproductive increase in estrogen blood levels, healthy lifestyle changes can naturally boost testosterone levels as well as sperm count. Plan to adopt these healthy habits:
- Exercise regularly
- Consume less sugar
- Don’t skip breakfast
- Focus on high-protein and whole foods
- Drink plenty of water
The odds of male infertility increase by 10% with every 20 pounds of extra weight, so weight loss can be one of the most effective ways to increase your chances of conception.
Get tested for low-T
The first step to finding the right treatment for male sexual issues is to get tested. A simple blood test can reveal whether you have low-T, which can help your fertility specialist develop a treatment plan.
Always fully inform your reproductive endocrinologist of any medications or supplements that you or your partner are taking. If you are trying to grow your family and your partner is already using low-T treatments, be sure to tell your fertility specialist.
If you are having difficulty conceiving and are currently on low-T treatment or considering low-T treatment, contact us to schedule a consultation at our Las Vegas fertility center.