Understanding Testosterone and Fertility: Debunking Common Myths
Testosterone is a hormone produced in the testes that plays an important role in the development of male reproductive tissues and secondary sexual characteristics. While testosterone is commonly associated with male fertility, there are several misconceptions about the relationship between testosterone and fertility that need to be debunked.
Topic 1: Does testosterone level solely contribute to fertility?
Contrary to popular belief, testosterone level is just one of many factors that contribute to male fertility. While testosterone is necessary for the development of healthy sperm and male reproductive organs, other factors such as sperm count, motility, and morphology are equally important. Additionally, factors such as age, lifestyle habits, and underlying medical conditions can all have an impact on male fertility.(1)(2)
For example, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and exposure to environmental toxins can all lower sperm count and decrease fertility. Similarly, conditions such as diabetes, obesity, and infections can also negatively impact male fertility. Therefore, it is important to address these factors in addition to testosterone levels when evaluating male fertility. Testosterone level is more related with libido.
Topic 2: Does testosterone level raise with more sexual behaviors?
There is limited evidence to suggest that testosterone levels increase with increased sexual activity. While testosterone levels may increase in response to sexual stimulation, the effect is typically temporary and may not have a significant impact on overall testosterone levels.
In fact, excessive sexual activity or frequent ejaculation may actually lead to a temporary decrease in testosterone levels. Another study, however, shows that the 3 weeks of abstinence from ejaculation actually raise the testosterone level, but it lasts temporary. (3) Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy balance of sexual activity to optimize overall reproductive health.
Topic 3: Is testosterone replacement therapy necessary for low testosterone patients?
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is a treatment option for men with low testosterone levels. While TRT can help increase testosterone levels in the blood, it may not be effective in improving fertility. This is because TRT does not increase testosterone production in the testes, which is where sperm is produced.
Furthermore, TRT can actually decrease sperm production and quality, making it less effective for men who are trying to conceive. Therefore, TRT is typically not recommended for men who wish to preserve or improve their fertility. (4) If you have found that your testosterone level is low or seemed like you have lost your libido and energy, go to your health care provider to check your testosterone level and reason for the infertility. Furthermore, it is important to be supportive to the person experiencing infertility because the circumstance is emotionally painful.
In conclusion, while testosterone is an important factor in male fertility, it is not the only factor. Other factors such as sperm count, motility, and morphology, as well as lifestyle habits and medical conditions, should also be considered when evaluating male fertility. Additionally, while sexual activity can have a temporary effect on testosterone levels, it is important to maintain a healthy balance to optimize overall reproductive health. Lastly, while TRT can help increase testosterone levels, it is not recommended for men who wish to improve their fertility. Go to your health care provider to check your testosterone level.
(1) Endocrine society, Reproductive Infertility, 2022
(2) American Family Physician, Evaluation and Treatment of Infertility, 2015
(3) World Journal of Urology, Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following a 3-week sexual abstinence, 2001
(4) Cleaveland Clinic, Dose Low Testosterone Cause, Infertility, 2022
Rapid quantitative immunoassay analyzer