How does low testosterone affect male fertility?

4 min
Updated Dec 8th, 2023

Table of contents

Testosterone is a hormone that stimulates development of sperm and is produced mainly in the testes for men. It plays a key role in the development of sperm and helps to build muscle and bone mass. The relationship between testosterone levels, the development of sperm and men’s health is complicated. 

Why low testosterone is bad for male fertility 

Studies have shown that having low testosterone directly correlates to having a lower sperm count and experiencing male fertility issues. This is a worrying trend, with sperm counts among men dropping by more than half over the last 40 years, and low testosterone levels being associated with reduced sex drive and erectile dysfunction. 

So, the simple solution would seem to be: get more testosterone in the bloodstream, problems solved?  Wrong. 

Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)

If you are trying to conceive you should not undergo testosterone replacement therapy. The vast majority of men undergoing TRT will see their sperm count drop to zero. This seems odd at first glance, but it is actually the result of a very simple feedback loop. Most hormones are regulated by feedback mechanisms like this. A feedback mechanism is a loop in which a product feeds back to control its own production. Most hormone feedback mechanisms involve negative feedback loops. Negative feedback keeps the concentration of a hormone within a narrow range to regulate hormone production and maintain a balance within your body.

In men testosterone production is managed by a negative feedback loop, the brain will secrete a hormone called GnRH (Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone) that affects the function of the reproductive organs such as the testes. GnRH signals the testes to start making testosterone, which is vital for male fertility as we outlined above. When you have enough testosterone in the bloodstream your brain will stop secreting GnRH. When hormone levels drop below a certain level then the brain will be signalled to produce GnRH and your testes will continue to make testosterone. This simple feedback loop helps to maintain a healthy level of testosterone within the body and results in consistent sperm production. 

However, when undergoing TRT the testosterone is introduced directly into the bloodstream through injections, patches, gels, or other methods. High levels of testosterone send a signal to your brain to stop producing GnRH, without GnRH there is no signal to the testes to produce testosterone. Sperm generation is reliant on testosterone being produced in the testes – the level here is higher than in the blood. So, despite high levels in the bloodstream, most men will stop producing sperm when going through TRT due to the fact the testes are not producing any testosterone. 

Boosting testosterone when trying to conceive 

Stop smoking! Smokers generally have lower levels of various hormones including those which impact on male fertility. When trying to conceive you can improve your chances significantly by kicking this habit. 

Losing weight is also a great way to help boost your testosterone levels. A study has shown that obese men have 30% lower testosterone levels than men at a regular weight. The numbers look even worse as you get more overweight, with another study showing that 70% of morbidly obese men have testosterone deficiency. So, if you are overweight, adjusting your diet and getting regular exercise are both great options to help boost testosterone levels and therefore your fertility.

Being diagnosed with low testosterone does not signal the end of your hopes when trying to conceive. Testosterone is directly associated with the quantity of sperm produced, whereas the quality is dictated by other factors. If you make lifestyle changes and get treatment as soon as you can then you still have a great chance of success. Learn more about male fertility supplements.

Improving sperm quality 

If you are trying to conceive and want to improve your sperm quality, then you should seriously consider Impryl. It is one of the only supplements with clinical data shown to improve live birth outcomes for sub-fertile men. These impressive results are achieved due to the unique mechanism of Impryl, which supports the body’s natural metabolism to improve sperm quality. This is different to most male fertility supplements which are packed with strong antioxidants which can actually end up damaging sperm. Learn more about how Impryl is different and why its results are so impressive by visiting our site

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