Clin Exp Reprod Med 2019 Dec 19;46(4):173-177. Epub 2019 Nov 19.
Department of Urology, Fertility Center, CHA Gangnam Medical Center, CHA University, Seoul, Korea.
Objective: We investigated the clinical characteristics of men with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT)-induced hypogonadism and its effect on assisted reproductive technology (ART) in infertile couples.
Methods: This study examined the records of 20 consecutive male patients diagnosed with azoospermia or severe oligozoospermia (<5×106/mL) who visited a single infertility center from January 2008 to July 2018. All patients were treated at a primary clinic for erectile dysfunction or androgen deficiency symptoms combined with low serum testosterone. All men received a phosphodiesterase 5 inhibitor and TRT with testosterone undecanoate (Nebido®) or testosterone enanthate (Jenasteron®). Patients older than 50 years or with a chronic medical disease such as diabetes were excluded.
Results: The mean age of patients was 37 years and the mean duration of infertility was 16.3±11.6 months. At the initial presentation, eight patients had azoospermia, nine had cryptozoospermia, and three had severe oligozoospermia. Serum follicle-stimulating hormone levels were below 1.0 mIU/mL in most patients. Three ongoing ART programs with female factor infertility were cancelled due to male spermatogenic dysfunction; two of these men had normal semen parameters in the previous cycle. After withholding TRT, serum hormone levels and sperm concentrations returned to normal range after a median duration of 8 months.
Conclusion: TRT with high-dose testosterone can cause spermatogenic dysfunction due to suppression of the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis, with adverse effects on infertility treatment programs. TRT is therefore contraindicated for infertile couples attempting to conceive, and the patient's desire for fertility must be considered before initiation of TRT in a hypogonadal man.