If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, it’s important to remember that in over 50% of the cases infertility is due to a male factor. Fortunately, it is quite easy to assess a male’s fertility status by getting a semen analysis performed. A semen analysis will assess your sperm counts and sperm quality (motility and morphology), in addition to other sperm parameters. When there is a male infertility factor present, it may be due to an underlying hormone imbalance, which may impact your ability to conceive and may pose other health implications. If a hormone imbalance is discovered, there are many hormone management therapies available that can help improve sperm quality and sperm health.
But many people will ask: Is hormone therapy a reliable solution for male infertility? Can it actually improve sperm quality and sperm counts? Let’s examine those questions in more detail.
What is Hormone Management Therapy?
Hormone management therapy (also known as hormonotherapy) refers to any treatment that involves the administration or manipulation of hormones. This includes both natural and synthetic forms of hormones, and hormone treatments can be used for a variety of purposes.
Remember that the testicles have two functions: 1) to make testosterone and 2) to make sperm. It is important to note that testosterone is necessary in the sperm production process.
Testosterone Hormone Therapy
You’ve definitely heard about testosterone before. People frequently think of testosterone as being the male “sex hormone.” While this true, testosterone has many other important functions in the human body. From a fertility perspective, adequate levels of testosterone are necessary for this hormone because of the role it plays in spermatogenesis (the production of sperm).
Many believe that taking testosterone can lead to improved sperm counts and healthier sperm. But, in fact, testosterone therapy typically leads to a dramatic decrease in sperm counts, and may even result in Azoospermia, which is the absence of sperm in the ejaculate (NIH). Fortunately, for most people who are on testosterone and are found to have low or no sperm counts, this condition is typically reversible by taking the patient off testosterone and stimulating the body’s own production of testosterone with other medications.
The take home message is simple: If you are trying to conceive and/or want to improve your sperm quality, DO NOT BE TREATED WITH TESTOSTERONE!
With proper evaluation and management by an experienced reproductive urologist (i.e., a male fertility expert), hormonal issues can be better managed and can result in markedly improved fertility.
Testosterone is not the only hormone that influence sperm production. Many other hormones play roles in male fertility, such as:
- Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing hormone (LH)
- And thyroid-stimulating hormone
As part of your male fertility assessment, a reproductive urologist may check these hormone levels, and prescribe therapy to adjust any imbalances that may be contributing to infertility. It is important to understand that while on therapy, close monitoring of hormone levels is essential.
Can Hormone Management Therapy Improve Sperm Health?
Male infertility can be caused by a wide variety of factors like age, genetics, environmental influences, lifestyle, history, underlying health issue, and more. When appropriate, your male fertility specialist may prescribe hormone therapy as part of your overall treatment plan as certain therapies may help improve your sperm quality and health.
The best way to determine if hormone therapy can help your sperm quality is to be evaluated by a male fertility specialist. At Posterity Health, our team of male fertility experts can provide personalized recommendations for you potentially including hormone management therapies and which may be good solutions for your fertility needs.
If you’re interested in hormone management therapy and/or are looking for ways to improve your sperm health, contact our team at Posterity Health today to get started.