The treatment of hypogonadism in men of reproductive age

Fertil Steril. 2013 Mar 1;99(3):718-24. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.10.052. Epub 2012 Dec 7.


Objective: To review the mechanisms of T replacement therapy's inhibition of spermatogenesis and current therapeutic approaches in reproductive aged men.

Design: Review of published literature.

Setting: PubMed search from 1990-2012.

Patient(s): PubMed search from 1990-2012.

Intervention(s): A literature review was performed.

Main outcome measure(s): Semen analysis and pregnancy outcomes, time to recovery of spermatogenesis, serum and intratesticular T levels.

Result(s): Exogenous T suppresses intratesticular T production, which is an absolute prerequisite for normal spermatogenesis. Therapies that protect the testis involve hCG therapy or selective estrogen receptor (ER) modulators, but may also include low-dose hCG with exogenous T. Off-label use of selective ER modulators, such as clomiphene citrate (CC), are effective for maintaining T production long term and offer the convenience of representing a safe, oral therapy. At present, routine use of aromatase inhibitors is not recommended based on a lack of long-term data.

Conclusion(s): Exogenous T supplementation decreases sperm production. Studies of hormonal contraception indicate that most men have a return of normal sperm production within 1 year after discontinuation. Clomiphene citrate is a safe and effective therapy for men who desire to maintain future potential fertility. Although less frequently used in the general population, hCG therapy with or without T supplementation represents an alternative treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypogonadism / physiopathology
  • Hypogonadism / therapy*
  • Infertility, Male / physiopathology
  • Infertility, Male / therapy*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • Spermatogenesis*