Several years ago, a top professional bodybuilder approached me in Gold's gym in Venice with a problem he wanted to discuss with me privately. So I stepped aside with him away from everybody else in the gym and listened to what he had to say. It turned out that this man, who had placed in the top five at the Mr.Olympia contest, had recently married and was interested in having children. The problem was that, despite getting off all anabolic steroid use for over six months, he still showed a low sperm count that was not compatible with fertility. What he wanted to know was what he could take that would improve his sperm count enough to lead to conception. What confused him was that he was already taking medications that were supposed to boost his sperm count, yet it still wasn't enough to bring the count up to levels that would likely produce a pregnancy. I asked him if his wife had been checked out to see if she could be the source of any fertility problems (50% of fertility problems occur in men). He told me that his wife was young, fit, and quite fertile according to the medical and hormonal testing she had undergone. Clearly, the problem was on his end. What I suggested to him was to start taking an injection called Human Menopausal gonadotropin, which is most often prescribed for women to promote multiple egg release during pregnancy. The drug contains two gonadotropins, Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Both hormones are produced in the human bodies of both sexes, although they serve differing purposes. In women, these hormones promote pregnancy including the release of eggs. In men, LH promotes activity in the Leydig cells of the testes to produce testosterone synthesis. Indeed, LH is the rate-limiting hormone for testosterone production in the body. When older men start to produce lower testosterone levels after age 40, the body responds by producing more LH release from the anterior pituitary gland in the brain in an effort to prod testosterone production in the testes. This assumes, however, that the Leydig cells in the testes are still completely functional.
Follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH in men functions to support sperm development and production in the testes. While LH works on the Leydig cells in the testes, FSH works on the Sertoli cells, where sperm is produced. I suggested the HMG drug to the champion bodybuilder because I had a hunch that the FSH in the drug would prod his body to produce enough sperm to allow him to impregnate his wife. I never heard back from the bodybuilder, but I did hear that nine months later his wife conceived a healthy child. Did he follow my advice? Your guess is as good as mine. But the timing was about right!
A decrease in fertility is the most common side effect when . . .