Author(s): Siddiq FM, Sigman M
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Abstract Effective therapies are available for the treatment of infertility owing to specific causes. Most hormonal imbalances can be readily identified and successfully treated. The treatment of men with unexplained idiopathic infertility remains difficult. The availability of a multitude of agents ranging from hormones to nutritional supplements emphasizes the fact that none are consistently effective. There is no good way to predict which patients will respond to a specific treatment. Idiopathic infertility may result from multiple discrete defects in sperm generation and maturation that are as yet unidentified. A better understanding of these defects will yield more effective treatment options and appropriate triage of patients to specific therapeutic regimens. Assisted reproductive techniques remain an option for patients with idiopathic male infertility; however, they are expensive and treat the female partner for a male problem. Multiple gestations and other complications are not infrequent. Initial management should be directed at improving the quality of semen to facilitate natural conception. Specific abnormalities should be corrected. If empiric pharmacologic therapy is to be used, treatment should last at least 3 to 6 months to incorporate a full 74-day spermatogenic cycle. The infertile couple should be advised of the inconsistent response to therapy and the low conception rate that may follow when compared with the results of ART. When empiric therapy is decided upon, antiestrogens may be used and are effective in a subset of patients. The authors prefer to use clomiphene citrate, 25 mg per day. The dose may be increased to 50 or 75 mg to raise testosterone levels to the upper normal range. Lack of a significant improvement in semen parameters or of a pregnancy after a 3- to 6-month treatment period may be an indication to proceed with ART.
This article was published in Urol Clin North Am
and referenced in Journal of Steroids & Hormonal Science