Send to

Choose Destination
J Androl. 2007 May-Jun;28(3):397-406. Epub 2006 Nov 29.

Relationships between serum hormone levels and semen quality among men from an infertility clinic.

Author information

Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, and Vincent Memorial Obstetrics and Gynecology Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, USA.


Participation rates in epidemiologic studies on semen quality are generally very low, raising concerns as to the potential for selection bias. Since hormones both initiate and maintain spermatogenesis, they may serve as surrogates of semen quality in epidemiologic studies. For this reason, in the present study, we explored the influence and predictive ability of reproductive and thyroid hormones on semen quality among men who were partners in an infertile couple. Between 1999 and 2003, 388 men were recruited from Massachusetts General Hospital Andrology Laboratory for clinical evaluation of fertility status. Fresh semen samples were assessed for quality (concentration, motility and morphology) and the serum levels of hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), inhibin B, sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), testosterone, free androgen index, free T4, total T3, and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), were measured. Multiple logistic regression revealed increased odds for below-reference sperm concentration and morphology in men with increased FSH, and decreased odds for below-reference sperm concentration and motility in men with increased inhibin B. When FSH and inhibin B were divided into quintiles, the relationships with sperm concentration showed evidence of a threshold value. However, the ability of specific FSH (10 IU/L) and/or inhibin B (80 pg/mL) cutoff values to predict semen quality was lower than in previous reports. In multiple linear regression analysis, FSH and LH were inversely associated with sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. Inhibin B and free T4 were positively associated with sperm concentration, while there was a suggestive positive association between testosterone and sperm motility. In conclusion, we have found that FSH, LH, inhibin B, testosterone and free T4 levels are associated with human semen parameters. Additional consideration should be given to the utility of serum hormone levels as a surrogate for semen quality in epidemiologic studies in which the collection of semen is difficult due to logistical and/or volunteer rate constraints.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center