Hormonal Causes of Infertility

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How do hormones impact infertility?

Hormonal Causes of Infertility

Infertility is a complex issue that has many different factors requiring considering in both diagnosis and treatment. Structural, mechanical, external and internal causes all play a role in infertility. One of the most common internal contributors to infertility is abnormal hormone controls.

There are five (5) primary hormones involved with fertility, all of which are found in both men and women. These hormones are:

  • Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone (GnRH)
  • Follicle stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
  • Estrogen
  • Testosterone
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulates the release of FSH and LH. Without GnRH, we cannot become fertile, because FSH and LH govern the production of "germ" cells in both men and women. These "germ" cells are the immature precursors to sperm and ova.

Estrogen and Testosterone aid in developing the gender-appropriate reproductive parts, control GnRH production, and promote development of the germ cells into mature sperm and ova.

Other hormones play smaller roles in reproduction, such as prolactin, which is produced by the pituitary and which inhibits GnRH production, resulting in decreased fertility.

Since these hormones work so closely and precisely in the reproductive cycles of both men and women, small variations in hormone levels can significantly impact fertility, including: immature sperm cells, immature ova, failure of the uterine lining to get ready for ova implantation after fertilization, and suppressed libido.

Tests for hormone levels may be performed by your Fertility Specialist, to determine if hormone variations are contributing to your inability to conceive. And it is easier to manage hormonal fluctuations than many other causes of infertility.

   

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