Medical therapy for spermatogenic failure

Asian J Androl. 2012 Jan;14(1):57-60. doi: 10.1038/aja.2011.63. Epub 2011 Dec 19.


Medical treatment of men with primary spermatogenic failure remains largely ineffective in contrast to those with secondary testicular failure. Treatment has been attempted with a multitude of agents ranging from hormones to nutritional supplements (antioxidants). While some studies have demonstrated benefit to some treatments, no treatments have consistently demonstrated efficacy nor has it been possible to reliably identify patients likely to benefit. Idiopathic spermatogenic failure likely results from multiple discrete defects in sperm production that are as yet unidentified. A better understanding of these defects will yield more effective treatment options and appropriate triage of patients to specific therapeutic regimens. This review focuses on the rationale and current evidence for hormonal and antioxidant therapy in medical treatment of male infertility, spermatogenic failure in particular. Although empiric medical therapy for spermatogenic failure has been largely replaced by assisted reproductive techniques, both treatment modalities could play a role, perhaps as combination therapy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Gonadotropins / pharmacology
  • Gonadotropins / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology*
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Male
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology*


  • Antioxidants
  • Gonadotropins