Testosterone excess may lead to low sperm countDuring fetal life, many factors in the environment affect fertility of a male offspring. When the environment is exposed to excess steroids like testosterone, it might be a potential risk factor for low sperm count and motility.

In a study conducted by lead author, Professor Sergio Recabarren of the University of Concepcion in Chile, he cited two instances where prenatal exposure to excess steroids can occur. First, when the mother is diagnosed of a hormonal condition called polycystic ovary syndrome. Second, when the mother’s prenatal environment is exposed to industrial pollutants which mimic steroid mechanism. This may alter normal hormonal production either by inhibiting it or accelerating it.

The researchers treated pregnant sheeps with testosterone propionate from 30 to 90 days of pregnancy. They continually incresead the dosage from 90 to 120 days of pregnancy. Significant reduction in scrotum size, body weight and sperm count were observed in the male offspring in the treatment group compared to those in the control group.

Further tests however are needed to prove that a similar outcome will also appear in humans, although at present, it can be argued that excess steroids may be a potential risk in sperm count.