The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism Journal Article

Male Fertility Before and After Androgen Abuse

February 08, 2021
 

Josefine Windfeld-Mathiasen, Kim Peder Dalhoff, Jon Trærup Andersen, Marc Klemp, Anna Horwitz, Henrik Horwitz
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, Volume 106, Issue 2, February 2021, Pages 442–449
https://doi.org/10.1210/clinem/dgaa837

Abstract

Purpose

Previous research has found that male users of androgens are diagnosed approximately twice as often with infertility. We therefore set out to investigate the fertility in men using androgens.

Methods

The study included 545 males who tested positive for androgens in an anti-doping test program in Danish fitness centers during the period from January 3, 2006, to March 1, 2018. The confirmed androgen users were matched by birth year with 5450 male controls. We followed this cohort from 10 years prior to testing positive until the end of follow-up in May 2018.

Results

During the 10-year period prior to testing positive, the group of androgen users experienced a 26% lower fertility rate than the controls (rate ratio [RR] 0.74; 95% CI, 0.60–0.90; P = 0.0028). However, in the years following the doping sanction, they made a significant catch-up, and at completed follow-up the total fertility rate was only 7% lower than expected (RR 0.93, 95% CI, 0.84–1.03). The prevalence of assisted reproduction was 5.69% in the group of androgen users and 5.28% in the control group (P = 0.69).

Conclusion

Androgen use was associated with a temporary decline in fertility and most androgen users achieved parenthood without any help from the health care system. Overall, the fertility rate and the prevalence of assisted reproduction among androgen users were close to those in the background population.

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