How is Sperm Made?

Our Manhattan Male Fertility Specialist Discusses How Sperm are Made.

The pituitary gland in the man produces two important hormones with regard to testicular function.

In a relatively small number of cases of male infertility, the failure to produce an adequate quality of sperm relates to reduce secretion by the pituitary gland of those hormones necessary to stimulate sperm production. The first is called follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and the second is luteinizing hormone (LH). Luteinizing hormone’s predominant function is to act on a particular variety of cells in the testicles that produces the male hormone testosterone. These cells are referred to as Leydig cells. A sustained reduction in FSH production, therefore, is capable of resulting in male infertility. Usually, if there is a reduction in either one of the components, LH or FSH, the other one will also be low. In other words, if a man produces a normal amount of LH and has a normal blood male hormone (testosterone, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone) level, it is very unlikely that he will have a reduced FSH production, and, accordingly, if his sperm function is reduced, it is unlikely to be the result of reduced FSH production by the pituitary gland.

The woman’s cycle usually lasts about 28 days, and under normal circumstances, she releases one egg per menstrual cycle. In the man there exists an a cyclical production of spermatozoa In fact the entire spermatogenic cycle, from initiation to the production of the most mature forms of spermatozoa, takes approximately 100 days. Accordingly, any treatment administered to the man in order to improve sperm production can only be properly assessed after waiting for a period of approximately 100 days. In the man, as with the woman, the pituitary gland releases FSH and LH in response to need. In other words, if there is an abundance of male hormone being produced? Then, the pituitary gland, through messages received from higher centers in the brain, reduces its production of LH. This push-pull mechanism is referred to as a feedback response, helps the body regulate exactly how much stimulation is needed to keep normal testicular function going both with regard to the production of male hormones and with regard to the production of spermatozoa.