Decreased levels of testosterone, the sex hormone can affect the amount of sperm the man is capable of producing. Age plays a big role in the production of testosterone and sperm, although sperm production can be maintained well into old age.
Oligospermia or low sperm count typically occurs when there is less than 20 milliliters of sperm in every milliliter of semen. In most cases, low sperm count is identified in couples unable to conceive a child after a year of having unprotected sex. If this is as a result of hypogonadism or decreased testosterone, this may be diagnosed by a low sex drive, less body hair, erectile dysfunction or tenderness in the testicles.
Decreased testosterone levels can occur during fetal development, puberty or even adulthood. If testosterone is reduced during adulthood, the man may not be able to have children or suffer erectile dysfunction. Often, men produce less testosterone with age.
The production of testosterone is reduced by 20% in men over 60 years and reduces 30-40% in men older than 80. Andropause is the male version of menopause that causes lowered testosterone in older men.
There are 2 types of hypogonadism: primary and secondary. Primary hypogonadism originates in the testicles, while the secondary version occurs in areas of the brain that instruct the testicles to produce testosterone, the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. Certain primary hypogonadism may be as a result of injury to the testicle, alcohol use, Klinefelter’s syndrome and aging. Individuals who experience brain tumor or pubertal delay could suffer from hypogonadism.