Many men are interested in increasing their testosterone levels especially if they are experiencing symptoms related to “low T”, such as issues with erections or low sex drive. However, what they may not realize is that fixing one issue can result in another.
One side effect of testosterone treatment is male infertility. Testosterone supplementation decreases sperm production by decreasing levels of another hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is important for stimulating sperm production. The good news is for most men, once they stop taking testosterone, infertility is reversible. This is especially true for those who have only been on supplementation for a short while. However, for a small percentage of men the infertility is permanent. It is generally believed that testosterone given by shots and pellets are more likely to cause infertility than gels, although any form of testosterone supplementation can disrupt the normal hormonal balance required for sperm production.
As a side note, low testosterone does not cause infertility. Sperm production is actually stimulated by hormones other than testosterone. Testosterone is required for sperm production, but the level in the testes where sperm are produced is many times higher than in the blood. Even men with low or borderline T levels usually have sufficient levels for sperm production.
Bottom line, if a man is experiencing “low T” and wants to have children, there are other medications that can help. He should seek help from a reproductive specialist for analysis and safe treatment options. To learn more about semen analysis or to make an appointment, please call 843-883-5880 or fill out this online form.