Clomid for Men: Uses & How it Works
Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Geoffrey Whittaker
For many parents over the last few decades, fertility drugs and treatments have been the life-changing difference between having a family and not, and some of that is thanks to Clomid.
Clomid is among the medications that, for more than half a century, have helped women become pregnant even if they have conditions that make pregnancy difficult. But what can Clomid do for wanna-be dads — what about Clomid for men?
It turns out that Clomid can also — potentially — offer benefits to hopeful fathers and their sperm count 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. Despite this, 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 male infertility might be a beneficial treatment for you in certain circumstances. Let’s unpack how.
What is Clomid (Clomiphene) for Men?
We’re going to get into the weeds pretty quickly with the science of fertility here, so let’s start with the current state of things.
Currently, clomiphene, the generic name for Clomid, is prescribed off-label to treat infertility in men, meaning that healthcare professionals prescribe this medication for male infertility. They do this even though it’s not approved for that specific use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Clomid is, for now, a medication only approved for the treatment of two hormonal imbalance-related fertility issues in women. Both of these issues have to do with how the female body ovulates, or releases an egg from the ovary.
Anovulatory (fertility issues having to do with no egg release)
Oligo-ovulatory infertility issues (irregular egg releases)
These may be caused by a variety of factors, including polycystic ovarian syndrome or birth control use. Either way, they are very specific types of infertility. In both cases, the cause of infertility is a lack of normal ovulation, and in both cases, Clomid induces ovulation.
Brand name Clomid (and clomiphene) is FDA-approved for both of these kinds of infertility. When it comes to men however, there’s less clarity.
This feature has occasionally been used as a performance enhancer by healthy athletes, to increase muscle mass by increasing serum testosterone levels — but we’re here to talk about fertility, so let’s focus on that.
What Does Clomid Do?
What Clomid does in a man’s body is increase production of testosterone, which can increase your t levels, make hair grow and lead to a higher sperm concentration. How this happens takes a little nerd lingo to explain.
Clomiphene citrate (as the labcoats call it) works by affecting a selective estrogen receptor modulator. This means it affects estrogen levels and increases hormone production, including serum levels of testosterone (as well as levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels). Using clomiphene citrate for men as testosterone therapy causes spermatogenesis — literally, your body makes 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.
Because of this, clomiphene has effects in the treatment of hypogonadism, but experts generally agree that there’s currently insufficient evidence to explain how clomiphene increases testosterone. In short, more research on the topic is clearly needed.
But Clomid does help infertility in some men, so on to some practical information
Clomid Dosage for Men
When determining your dosage, a healthcare provider will likely give you 50mg to start, and increase your dosage as needed up to the maximum of 100mg.
This maximum dosage of Clomid is about as far as you’ll want to go, lest you bring the fury of certain side effects down upon your stomach, mind and the rest of your body.
At first, most men are put on a regimen of 25 days on Clomid and five days off.
You can take this maximum dose daily until it’s no longer needed (which means different things for different people, of course). In most cases, however, that will mean you and your partner successfully getting pregnant.
ED treatments, delivered
No matter the treatment plan, the best place to start is somewhere.
How Long Does it Take for Clomid to Increase Testosterone?
Because Clomid is usually prescribed for women, there’s a fairly straightforward time period where we can say this medication will “kick in” for their purposes. Things are a little less predictable for men.
Because of the length of time it takes for a sperm to be created and loaded into the ol’ torpedo tubes, so to speak, Clomid may take several (as in three to four) months to work. Longer durations could be necessary too — everyone’s different.
Practically speaking, you’ll begin taking Clomid and have check-ins with your healthcare provider, most likely every month. And you’ll continue until there’s a bun in the oven and a baby on the way.
Signs Clomid is Working
The most obvious sign that Clomid is working is that your partner is expecting a child (congratulations) and you’re the father (congratulations again!).
But besides that, it becomes a little more difficult to assess “working.” A healthcare provider will have to determine whether you’re having hormonal changes and increases in sperm production by giving you assessments.
Clomid is beginning to work if your testosterone levels and your sperm count are rising, though those things can be difficult to easily test until a few months later.
These are questions you won’t be able to answer immediately, and neither will a healthcare provider, so it’s going to take a lot of patience — something that can be difficult to muster if you’re experiencing side effects all the while.
Clomid Side Effects in Men
Clomid does present some nasty side effect potential for those long months, including a non-zero risk of testicle cancer for men. Common side effects of clomiphene include:
Exacerbation of psychiatric diseases
Clomiphene should not be used if you’re dealing with thyroid disease, a pituitary gland tumor or adrenal dysfunction.
Serious side effects of Clomid include:
Severe visual disturbances
Extreme levels of vomiting or dizziness
If you experience any of these, seek medical attention immediately.
For men specifically, there's some limited research to suggest that Clomid can increase your risk of a testicular tumor, so if you’re spending a lot of time down there anyway, remember to check for lumps, fellas.
Some of these symptoms can come as the result of “overdose” — and most, like nausea and blurred vision, are dose-dependent and can get worse. So make sure you’re taking Clomid exactly as prescribed.
Alternative Treatments to Clomid for Male Fertility
Male factor 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 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.
And heads up: 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
improving your diet
cutting back on recreational drugs
avoiding toxic lubricants
losing weight if your body weight is too high
gaining weight if you’re on the thin side
Treatment may also take the form of simply doing nothing — nearly a quarter of couples are able to conceive after two years, even after experiencing problems early on.
There are several more treatment options to consider as well, although there’s less evidence to support these:
Some research says constrictive underwear and other clothes might be a contributing risk factor to infertility in men. 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.
A word of advice: starting a family can take a lot of work and a lot of patience. It doesn't happen overnight, and that's okay. Nearly a quarter of couples are able to conceive after two years, even after experiencing “problems” early on in the process.
Keep the conversation open with your healthcare provider and trust their guidance. Good things take time.
Clomid for Men: The Bottom Line
Guys, the idea of “shooting blanks” is a terrible thing to dwell on, so why dwell on it? Seriously, the ego blow is only as strong as your desire to wallow in something you can treat.
Men aren’t measured by sperm count, but by action. So if you’re experiencing male infertility or in need of fertility treatments for low sperm count, measure your value by whether you stand up and do something about it. And before you take action, remember these few pieces of wisdom:
Male infertility is nothing to be ashamed of, and it’s not 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.
You can do something about it. 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.
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 healthcare provider, start being the parent you want to be today: make the call, push through the anxiety, get help.