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Follicle-stimulating hormone treatment of male infertility

Foresta, Carlo; Selice, Riccardo; Garolla, Andrea; Ferlin, Alberto

doi: 10.1097/MOU.0b013e328313647d
Andrology, sexual dysfunction and infertility: Edited by Peter N Schlegel

Purpose of review Treatment with gonadotrophins is very effective in patients affected by hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism. The success of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) treatment in these men has brought the utilization of the same therapy in infertile oligozoospermic patients, aimed at obtaining a quantitative increase in sperm count.

Recent findings FSH plays a crucial role in human reproduction. This physiological role in spermatogenesis has induced various attempts to treat idiopathic oligozoospermic men with FSH, often inducing the restoration of normal spermatogenesis and spontaneous pregnancy. However, the results obtained so far are still controversial. In this research, attention is focused on the possible criteria able to predict a seminal response to the specific hormonal treatment. Moreover, we have correlated different polymorphisms of FSH receptor gene with the outcome of FSH treatment. In this article, the literature is reviewed, and the authors' experience on using FSH treatment in oligozoospermic patients is discussed.

Summary FSH treatment may represent a valid tool for infertile men. However, it should be performed on selected patients utilizing some predictive parameters able to identify a priori responder patients with high probability.

Department of Histology, Microbiology and Medical Biotechnologies, University of Padova, Padova, Italy

Correspondence to Professor Carlo Foresta, PhD, Department of Histology, Microbiology and Medical Biotechnologies, Section of Clinical Pathology and Centre for Male Gamete Cryopreservation, University of Padova, Via Gabelli 63, 35121 Padova, Italy Tel: +39 049 8218517; fax: +39 049 8218520; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.