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.