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Male Fertility Recovers After Hormonal Contraception

Fertility recovers within four to five months after discontinuing androgen-containing treatments

FRIDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- Men who stop using an androgen-containing hormonal contraceptive treatment usually have their fertility recover within four to five months, according to a re-analysis of 15 years' worth of data published in the April 29 issue of The Lancet.

Peter Y. Liu, M.D., from Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, and colleagues identified 30 studies published from 1990 to 2005 involving 1,549 eugonadal men aged 18 to 51 years who had been treated with an androgen or androgen plus progestagen for 16 to 78 weeks. The men were mostly white or Asian. Sperm output was monitored every month after discontinuation of treatment until recovery to at least 20 million per mL, an indicator of fertility, according to the authors.

The researchers found that sperm levels reached 20 million per mL after a median of 3.4 months, with a 67 percent probability of recovering to this level within six months and a 100 percent probability within 24 months. Higher rates of recovery were found in men who were older, Asian, had a shorter treatment, received shorter-acting testosterone preparations, had a faster suppression of spermatogenesis, and who had higher sperm counts and lower blood levels of luteinizing hormone at baseline.

"We conclude that spermatogenesis recovers to allow the return of fertility within four to five months after discontinuation of an androgen-containing hormonal regimen used for contraception, and that full recovery of spermatogenesis in all men is a reasonable expectation," Liu and colleagues write.

One study co-author is an employee at NV Organon, which supplied some of the drugs used in the studies, and one is an employee at Schering.

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