Men risk infertility using anabolic steroids, leading fertility expert reveals

A leading fertility expert in the Middle East is hoping to raise awareness of the dangers of male fertility with the use of anabolic steroids

Dr Laura Melado, an IVF specialist at IVI Fertility Clinic in Abu Dhabi said she hopes to highlight the risks of male infertility by the use of the steroids and the serious side effects it can have, with a worrying number of teenagers starting to use the drug to increase muscle mass, energy and a high level of fitness.

Dr Laura Melado, cited a recent study posted on the Independent.co.uk news website that said men have a 90 percent chance of becoming sterile because of the performance enhancing drugs.

She said: “Most users do not have the slightest hint that anabolic steroids have a detrimental effect on their overall health, including their ability to produce sperm. These drugs can shrink their testicles, and may even cause prostate cancer, among other health problems.

“In terms of fertility, it is observed that the impact can be reversed if men stop taking the drugs for a year. However, there are some cases where the damage becomes irreversible, especially if the drugs are used in large doses for a long period.”

Dr Melado said that what was most alarming was that users were not aware of the dangers these drugs post to their fertility

She said: “We need to raise awareness about the side effects of these steroids to facilitate an informed decision on the intake of these drugs. We strongly recommend discontinuation of anabolic steroids all together to protect health and fertility of the users.”

According to the clinic, anabolic steroids are normally used by men to raise their testosterone level, which results in increased muscle mass and improved muscle strength. The drugs, however, have a different impact on the testicles. The testicles’ testosterone production declines as a side effect, leading to the user having a decreased or even zero sperm count.

For infertility cases arising due to low sperm count in men, Dr Melado recommends the Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) treatment approach that has helped many patients facing male infertility issues. This procedure involves extracting a sperm from a sample of semen, or by a testicular biopsy, to select the most appropriate sperm to fertilise the eggs.

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