JOURNAL ARTICLE

Anabolic steroids abuse and male infertility

Rabih El Osta, Thierry Almont, Catherine Diligent, Nicolas Hubert, Pascal Eschwège, Jacques Hubert
Basic and Clinical Andrology 2016, 26: 2
26855782
For several decades, testosterone and its synthetic derivatives have been used with anabolic and androgenic purposes. These substances were first restricted to professional bodybuilders, but become more and more popular among recreational athletes. Up to date, 3,000,000 anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) users have been reported in the United States with an increasing prevalence, making AAS consumption a major public health growing concern. Infertility is defined by the WHO as the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse and a male factor is present in up to 50 % of all infertile couples. Several conditions may be related to male infertility. Substance abuse, including AAS, is commonly associated to transient or persistent impairment on male reproductive function, through different pathways. Herein, a brief overview on AAS is offered. Steroids biochemistry, patterns of use, physiological and clinical issues are enlightened. A further review about fertility outcomes among male AAS abusers is also presented, including the classic reports on transient anabolic steroid-induced hypogonadism (ASIH), and the more recent experimental reports on structural and genetic sperm damage.

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