Q&A: Hypogonadism and Fertility?
March 2, 2017
It depends on the type of hypogonadism he has. First, let’s start with a definition: Male hypogonadism is a deficiency in the testosterone hormone. You can be born with it or it can come later in life from an injury or infection. There are two types of hypogonadism: primary—a problem in the testicles; and secondary—a problem in the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. Onset can arrive during three different times in life: fetal development, marked by ambiguous or underdeveloped genitals; puberty, marked by slow growth and development of male characteristics; and adulthood, marked by impaired reproductive functions, such as infertility.
Some types of hypogonadism can be treated with testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), but the effects and what you can do about them depend on the cause and at what point in life hypogonadism occurred. If a pituitary problem (secondary) is the cause, hormones may restore fertility. However, if a male’s hypogandism occurs in his testes (primary), there’s no effective way to restore fertility and you may want to explore assisted reproduction options.
If your husband has any signs of hypogonadasim—low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, muscle loss—he should see his primary care physician or get a referral for an endocrinologist. The earlier it’s detected, the sooner he can prevent long-term effects and treat current symptoms.