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Old 05-14-2010, 09:02 AM   #1
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Steroids and Infertility -- “Steroids make you sterile”

Exploring a few articles on the myth. It looks like while in atrophy you shut down sperm production. But its not permanent according to all the uneducated public who claim Test will make you sterile. The proper PCT will have you back to normal. Would I rely on Test as a form of birth control?? Hell no. As Liftsiron once said "What do you call a man that relies on testosterone for birth control? DADDY!" lol

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The side effects of steroid use are pretty well known to those inside the bodybuilding world, as well as those on the outside who have been subjected to countless commercials about the dangers of steroids. Sometimes, these commercials are accurate. However, there are times when they do tend to exaggerate and venture into supposition instead of statements which can be backed up with facts. One such statement regards fertility: “Steroids make you sterile”. It’s true that the use of artificial testosterone and other anabolic steroids does influence your ability to produce sperm naturally. Over time, this can lead to lowered sperm count, which may certainly hamper your ability to reproduce. Is this something that should concern you? Let’s learn more…
“Working on starting a family…” This is a commonly heard quote from professional bodybuilders who have competed for over a decade and are finally looking to settle down. Many of them started using anabolic steroids at an early age, perhaps in their mid-teens. It is this kind of early usage which often leads to the most successful professional bodybuilders, despite any moral qualms associated with underage hormone use. These users never experience full puberty in many cases. Their bodies shut down natural testosterone production before their HPTA systems have even had a chance to fully develop. The result is that many of these men are unable to naturally produce sperm for the remainder of their lives. They work with fertility experts to make the most of the sperm they are able to produce, but many of them simply become sterile as a result of their steroid use. This is the extreme case, of course, but one that you should be aware of, particularly if you are a young bodybuilder considering steroid use.
If you’re already a parent, or have decided at an older age that the parenting route isn’t of particular importance to you, then AAS sterility won’t be of major concern to you. Your biggest concern may be shrunken testes, which is purely cosmetic for most.
Family planning should be an issue that is taken into account for any bodybuilder – even a recreational one – considering the use of even a small cycle of AAS. Typical beginner cycles are 400 to 800 mg per week of testosterone alone. This is very small compared to some of the stacks used by advanced users, but your responsiveness (in terms of both positive and negative side effects) will be very high thanks to your fresh receptors, means you will see very potential positive – and negative – side effects. This includes those effects upon testosterone (and sperm) production, which may come to a complete standstill for a number of months after just a single month of AAS use.
Most bodybuilders will use compounds such as Nolvadex and Clomid following a 3 month steroid cycle to help their body restart testosterone – and subsequently healthy sperm – production. This use of PCT, or post-cycle therapy, is highly recommended. Weigh your options thoroughly, and be aware of the fact when you use anabolic steroids, you do alter your reproductive systems, sometimes permanently.
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:03 AM   #2
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By Harry Fisch, MD

The other day a patient came to see me who looked like the picture of health. He was tan and wore a tight-fitting polo shirt that revealed a heavily-muscled torso. But his testicles were small and soft, and he and his wife had been trying without luck for more than a year to have kids. His wife was checked out and everything seemed fine on her end. So what was going on?

I immediately suspected the man was using some kind of supplement to boost his testosterone and build muscle mass. A couple of days later when his blood work came back it was obvious: his testosterone level was 3 times higher than normal. Bingo. Without knowing it, this guy had effectively sterilized himself. Unfortunately, this guy is not alone. Hundreds of thousands of men are compromising their fertility in their quest for bigger muscles, better athletic performance, or better sex.

Here’s what happens. Every guy’s brain is equipped with a tiny testosterone “thermostat” that constantly monitors the level of this key hormone in his blood. When levels fall, the brain sends signals to the testicles to boost production, and when levels rise, signals tell the testicles to shut down. Adding extra testosterone tricks the brain. Sensing the high levels, the brain shuts down testosterone production and sperm production, both of which happen in the testicles. As a result the testicles shrink, soften, and the man’s fertility plummets. He may still have normal erections and orgasms, so he probably won’t realize anything’s wrong, but he’ll be shooting blanks.

When I explained all of this to my patient, he was shocked. He had no idea. He agreed to stop taking the supplements he was using and I prescribed a medication to help kick-start his body’s natural testosterone production machinery. His sperm count will probably start to return to normal in three months or so. If his experience is like my other patients who have unwittingly sterilized themselves with supplements, he should be none the worse for wear in 6 months and his chances of having children should be normal.

The problems with testosterone supplements apply even to supplements such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and androstenedione. These substances get converted to testosterone in the body, so all of the risks noted above apply to them. The array of products now available is so huge and the number of brand names so large that a comprehensive list isn’t feasible. In general, however, any supplement containing the following ingredients or which include the following words should be suspect:

* testosterone
* dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
* androstenedione
* androstenediol
* prohormone
* prehormone
* “hormone”
* “anabolic”

The safest approach is to avoid all nutritional supplements if you are trying to have a baby because many contain hormones or hormone precursors that can hurt fertility and ingredients are often labeled in deceptive ways.
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