The administration of tamoxifen, 20 mg/day for 10 days, to normal males produced a moderate increase in luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), testosterone, and estradiol levels, comparable to the effect of 150 mg of clomiphene citrate (Clomid). However, whereas Clomid produced a decrease in the LH response to LH-releasing hormone (LHRH), no such effect was seen after the administration of tamoxifen. In fact, prolonged treatment (6 weeks) with tamoxifen significantly increased the LH response to LHRL. Treatment of patients with "idiopathic" oligospermia for 6 to 9 months resulted in a significant increase in gonadotropin, testosterone, and estradiol levels. A significant increase in sperm density was observed only in subjects with oligospermia below 20 X 10(6)/ml and normal basal FSH levels. When basal FSH levels were increased or oligospermia was moderate (greater than 20 X 10(6)/ml); no effect on sperm density was seen. As sperm density increased, FSH levels decreased, suggesting an inhibin effect. Sperm motility was not improved by tamoxifen treatment. In five boys with delayed puberty, tamoxifen treatment appeared to activate the pituitary-gonadal axis and pubertal development.