Testosterone is the male hormone that affects sexual features and development. The amount of testosterone in a man’s body is controlled by the pituitary gland. If the level is low, then the pituitary gland releases luteinizing hormone (LH), which tells the testicles to make more testosterone. An issue with either the pituitary gland or the testicles can result in a low testosterone level. See Testosterone for more on this subject.
If a man has low levels of testosterone in his body, then his body might make a reduced number of sperm, resulting in a low sperm count. If a man’s sperm count is too low, then he might have trouble conceiving a child. Determining whether a low testosterone level is causing the low sperm production is part of the fertility screening for a man.
A doctor can determine whether a man’s testosterone level is low through a simple blood test. Because testosterone levels are highest in the morning, the doctor might want to schedule the blood to be drawn at that time. However, no other special preparation is needed before having this test performed. Test results should be completed in a couple of days.
Your doctor might also want to check your LH levels to see how they are working in conjunction with your testosterone production. Viewing both of these results together can narrow down whether the problem is originating in the testicles or with the pituitary gland. See Testosterone for more on this topic.
Some of the possible causes of low testosterone levels include the following:
- Chronic alcohol use
- Chronic illness
- Down Syndrome
- Injury to the testicles
- Klinefelter Syndrome
- Liver disease
- Pituitary gland issues
- Slow development of testicles
Once your doctor has determined that your testosterone level is low, he will guide you about the next step. Your doctor might encourage you to try conceiving through one of the methods that are more successful for conceiving with low sperm counts, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
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