Question:

What role do hormones play in male fertility?

The Role of Hormones in Male Infertility

As with women, hormones play a significant role in reproduction for men. Hormonal abnormalities can significantly effect a man's ability to produce sperm, achieve an erection and produce children. The primary hormones involved in male fertility are:

  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle-stimulation Hormone
  • Testosterone
Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone is (GnRH) responsible for stimulating the production of both Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH). GnRH is released in pulses to prompt production and release of LH and FSH.

LH and FSH have primary functions in male fertility in binding with specific sperm germ cells (immature sperm cells) within the testes, to prompt sperm production. LH mediates testosterone production FSH assists Sertoli cells located in the testes, to nourish growing sperm cells.

Testosterone is metabolized into androgen and estrogen, which moderate LH production, aiding in controlling sperm production, maturation at puberty, and regulation of GnRH.

These hormones work together in a careful balance to control sperm production. Any disturbances in these hormone levels, such as might be caused by pituitary or hypothalamus disease, chemical or medication influence, or thyroid dysfunction can adversely affect a man's ability to produce and maintain sperm, and therefore, be able to conceive.

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