Don’t Use Anabolic Steroids

The use of anabolic steroids has become one of the main causes of preventable male factor infertility.  Increasing numbers of men, including teenagers, are now taking these steroids. They are sourced in the locker rooms, primarily gyms, to help build up muscle bulk in a bid to make themselves look more “manly”.

However, most are unaware of the side effects from these illegal drugs. They pose significant risks to their long term health, and more specifically their future fertility and sperm count.  A lot of men believe they can reverse these effects with more hormones such as HMG, but this is not the case. These steroids can cause the testicles to shrink, stopping sperm production. This means that men taking anabolic steroids, and other drugs like them, may have problems starting or adding to their family in the future.

The science behind this is well known: The anabolic steroids increase testosterone production within the body. This helps build up muscle bulk.  However, this also blocks the production of testosterone in the testicles themselves, which is a necessary ingredient for sperm production.

If used for long enough and in high enough doses, the damage to male fertility can become permanent.  In some case, it may take up to a year for sperm production to return to normal after having stopped taking the anabolic steroids.

We are seeing an increasing number of men at the clinic who simply aren’t aware of the damage that taking anabolic steroids can do to their long-term health and fertility. If you have taken steroids either recently or even years ago, we advise that you get a semen analysis done to understand if your fertility has been affected.

If you are trying to start a family, now or wish to in the future, it is imperative that you look after your health. This means not taking off prescription drugs or “herbal” remedies of any sort without first consulting an expert. Eat well, exercise regularly and look after yourself.

Claire Mooney

Consultant Embryoligist

Hope Restored

My husband, Shaun, and I attempted natural conception for two frustrating years, coping with the stress, disappointment and feelings of inadequacy that inevitably set in. 

I endured endless, invasive tests – on one occasion contracting an infection that hospitalised me for two days – until we were advised that our problem lay in my husband’s low sperm count.

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Should primary microsurgical ligation of varicocele be the gold standard approach?


Introduction: Varicocele is a common condition affecting over one in 10 men, and in cases with abnormal semen parameters, varicocele is present in about one in four men. Several methods have been used to treat this condition, of which microsurgical treatment has the lowest failure and complication rates. We present a single-centre UK series of microsurgical repair of varicocele.

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Are all sperm tests equal?

Semen analysis has long been the accepted routine test for assessing male fertility. However, in the wrong hands sperm tests have serious limitations. A semen analysis can offer a wealth of information about your fertility with sperm numbers, how your sperm swim and sperm shape. The latter being all important when assessing your fertility and the likelihood of conception.

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