Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 5/29/2022
For many parents over the last few decades, fertility treatments have meant the difference between having a family and not. Clomid is among the medications that, for more than half a century, have helped women become pregnant despite conditions that normally prevent pregnancy. But what can Clomid do for wanna-be dads — what about Clomid for men?
It turns out that Clomid also has benefits to offer hopeful fathers and their sperm count — potentially — as they take their relationship with their partner to the next stage.
Clomid has been used in some situations to increase the chances of conception for men, but what’s accepted by the scientific community for safe use in female infertility hasn’t yet obtained the same level of approval for men.
If you’re struggling with fertility issues and considering your options, Clomid for men might be a beneficial treatment for you in certain circumstances. Let’s unpack how.
Clomid is a medication approved for the treatment of hormonal imbalance fertility issues in women, specifically anovulatory and oligo-ovulatory infertility issues in women. These may be caused by a variety of factors, either as a result of polycystic ovarian syndrome or as a result of birth control use.
These are very specific kinds of infertility — in both cases, the cause of infertility is a lack of normal ovulation. In both cases, Clomid induces ovulation.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Clomid (specifically its generic version, clomiphene) for both of these kinds of infertility, but when it comes to men, there’s less clarity.
Currently, clomiphene is prescribed off-label to treat infertility in men. That is, healthcare professionals prescribe this medication for male infertility even though it’s not approved for that use by the FDA.
It can also be used as a treatment for hypogonadism or low serum testosterone levels in certain men. This has occasionally been abused in healthy athletes as a performance enhancer to increase muscle mass through the effects of testosterone — but we’re here to talk about fertility, so let’s focus on that.
Clomiphene citrate works by affecting a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It binds to estrogen receptors in various parts of the body, thereby affecting estrogen levels. As a result of that, clomiphene citrate treatment increases hormone production, including serum levels of testosterone (as well as levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels).
Increased production of testosterone and testosterone therapy is the induction of spermatogenesis — literally making more sperm.
According to research, many patients will see an increase in sperm production from an increase in bioavailable testosterone within about three months of using clomiphene.
There are additional considerations, like clomiphene’s effects in the treatment of hypogonadism, but experts generally agree that there’s insufficient evidence to explain that relationship today because more research on the topic is clearly needed.
Clomid and clomiphene are not without their side effects. If you’re going to be taking it, you’ll want to be aware of the possible adverse effects of using Clomid.
Common side effects of clomiphene include nausea, blurred vision, vomiting, headache, testicular tumor, gastrointestinal disturbance, dizziness and the exacerbation of psychiatric diseases.
Clomiphene should not be used if you’re dealing with thyroid disease, a pituitary gland tumor or adrenal dysfunction.
If you experience serious side effects — including pancreatitis, severe visual disturbances or extreme levels of vomiting or dizziness — speak with your healthcare provider immediately, as they may discontinue your use of the medication.
Some of these symptoms can come as the result of overdose, so make sure you’re taking Clomid exactly as prescribed.
Male infertility is a complicated condition, and it may result from a number of factors associated with reproductive health. As a result, there’s no one effective treatment that will fix your problems — at least, not one we can recommend right now.
The truth is that the best course of treatment will be recommended to you by a healthcare professional after they’ve done some significant testing to determine the cause of your infertility.
Treatment options may take one of many forms, including simply doing nothing — nearly a quarter of couples are able to conceive after two years, even after experiencing problems early on.
A healthcare professional will readily recommend changes to your lifestyle if there are any areas in which those habits might increase your risk of infertility. That may include reducing your smoking and alcohol intake, reducing stress, improving your diet, cutting back on the recreational drugs, avoiding toxic lubricants and losing weight if your body weight is too high (or gaining weight if you’re on the thin side).
Some research says constrictive underwear and other clothes might be a contributing risk factor to infertility in men, and while we’re not convinced that it can be a primary cause of infertility, it may be an additional level of protection if you’re struggling to conceive.
Many other therapy types are considered controversial, including gonadotropic therapy and others. You might also have surgical needs that should be addressed or a sexual disorder like premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
If you’re experiencing male infertility or might be experiencing male infertility, your next step is a conversation. Talking to a healthcare professional about your concerns, sharing any health issues or details about how long you’ve been trying to conceive — all of this will help you get a tailored, you-specific solution to this problem.
Male infertility is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s neither representative of your masculinity, nor is it something you’re responsible for. It’s just a health condition standing between you and the family you want.
Dads and parents generally are brave. They’re powerful figures, and children look up to them to learn the same skills and traits so that they can face the world and all its challenges later on. If you’re avoiding the conversation with a doctor, start being the parent you want to be today: make the call, push through the anxiety, get help.