Tag Archives: male infertility

The Role of Testosterone in Male Fertility

male fertility and testosterone
The sex hormone testosterone is a key player with a man’s reproductive system. Produced by the testes, this hormone is responsible for the development of muscle, bone, hair, and sex organs. It is also necessary for sperm production.

Testosterone and Male Infertility

When testosterone levels are either high or low, a male’s fertility may be affected as it can reduce sperm production. The quality of the sperm is not always considered unhealthy with low testosterone levels as other hormones also play a role in sperm production.

The health of sperm is assessed by the amount, the movement, and the shape. Testosterone levels in the testicles measuring lower than normal can result in a lower number of sperm produced. This level cannot be compared to testosterone levels measured in the blood.

A man’s ability to conceive a child can be negatively affected as low testosterone levels can reduce a man’s sexual drive and cause erectile dysfunction.

What Is Low Testosterone?

Low testosterone, also referred to as hypogonadism, is measured through a blood test in nanograms per deciliter (ng/dL). As with most hormones, testosterone levels can differ in males due to genetics, lifestyle, and health conditions. A “normal” range is considered between 270-1,070 ng/dL. A low testosterone reading in fertility tests provides specialists a possible source  to investigate.


Symptoms of low testosterone count can vary per individual with levels dropping as a man ages. Erectile dysfunction, reduced sex drive, loss of muscle mass, severe mood swings, and a decrease in hair growth and energy can be obvious signs. Infertility is one symptom that fertility experts focus on.


As with most natural producing hormones, testosterone levels can decrease with age. This factor alone is not cause for concern and is considered normal for men over 45 years of age. Low measurable testosterone levels may be caused by genetic and pituitary disorders, injury to  the testicles, obesity, cancer treatments, prescription medication side effects, and tobacco use. Chronic diseases of HIV/AIDS and liver and kidney disease can also have a detrimental effect on testosterone levels.

The Effect of Low Testosterone on Male Fertility

As testosterone affects the quality of the production of sperm, low levels can reduce a man’s ability to be fertile. For this, testosterone replacement with use of oral medications, injections, patches, and gels supplements may be considered.

Testosterone supplements do improve specific symptoms of low levels such as muscle mass and sex drive. In relations to fertility, these supplements may advance the infertility issue. The brain produces gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to signal the testes to produce testosterone when levels in the bloodstream drop. As supplements enter the bloodstream, the brain counts this as sufficient testosterone levels, and the testes stop production. A man’s sperm count can be reduced to zero, having a negative effect on fertility.

How to Improve Low Testosterone Levels

Part of infertility counselling for patients in Guelph and other regions is formulating a plan to increase testosterone levels. Obviously, due to the effects of testosterone supplements on male fertility, treatment for low testosterone levels needs to be carefully handled.

Focusing on the cause of the testosterone levels being low may involve controlled trial-and-error methods. It is necessary to rule out underlying conditions and related lifestyle aspects to treat the root of the problem.

Males struggling with weight issues may need to start a weight loss program as excess fat converts testosterone into estrogen thereby lowering levels of testosterone. Another lifestyle change can be the need to stop tobacco use. Male smokers are exposed to cadmium and lead which have been proven to increase risk of infertility.

With infertility issues relating to low testosterone levels, medical treatments are widely used to address sperm count. Artificial Insemination (AI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) uses healthy sperm, despite the low number, to maximum chances of pregnancy.

What Is High Testosterone?

High testosterone levels can have a negative impact on male fertility rates as the increase in sperm numbers can hinder production much like low levels.

If a person has high testosterone, a blood test will result in numbers higher than the average of 270-1,070 ng/dL.


Low and high testosterone levels in males can cause similar signs of mood swings, infertility, and low sperm count. Due to the excessive level, males can also experience aggression, headaches, acne, high blood pressure, increase in hair growth, and an extreme increase of a sex drive. High testosterone levels can lead to liver disease, sleep apnea, blood clots, and insomnia.


High testosterone levels have been linked to a number of health and medical conditions, the least being injury to the testes, onset of early puberty, and recreational drug use. Various infections, autoimmune disorders, genetic abnormalities, kidney issues, liver disorders, and testicle tumours can cause high levels of testosterone.

The Effect of High Testosterone on Male Fertility

Just as low levels of testosterone can affect the male’s fertility, excessive levels of testosterone can also hinder a male’s ability to produce adequate sperm count. As with testosterone supplement use, the brain detects excessive amounts and signals the testes to stop production. This can result in no sperm production.

How to Improve High Testosterone Levels

Both low and higher levels of testosterone warrant targeted testing for an underlying cause for proper treatment. Males under testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) can see levels suddenly increase above normal levels, requiring adjustments to be made to the therapy treatment. Use of anabolic steroids can also produce excessive testosterone levels and should be stopped with the help of a physician.

Male Infertility Treatment and Counselling at ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo

Infertility counselling and treatment are at the centre of ONE Fertility Kitchener Waterloo’s fertility and in vitro fertilization clinic in Ontario. With male infertility, we provide scientifically tested solutions and treatments. Contact our fertility clinic today for an initial consultation!