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GLOSSARY

Andrologist

An andrologist is a physician that specializes in male health, with a particular focus on the male reproductive system and sperm health as well as urological and sexual health issues, such as erectile dysfunction, prostate disease and male hormone deficiency.

What is an andrologist?

An andrologist is a type of urologist physician that specializes in male reproductive and urological medicine. They are the male equivalent of gynecologists and they typically treat male-factor infertility, erectile dysfunction, and other related issues.

Andrologists and male fertility

In treating male infertility, andrologists may look for anatomical obstruction, hormone disorders, cancer, congenital abnormalities like undescended testes, or genetic anomalies. They may evaluate and treat male fertility issues on their own, or in collaboration with a reproductive endocrinologist. Services they provide include semen analysis, testicular biopsy, sperm cryopreservation (freezing). Andrologists may also assist with intrauterine inseminations (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedures, and may perform sperm extraction for IVF with ICSI. Some andrologists also do surgery, such as vasectomies and prostatectomies. 

Training for an andrologist

To become an andrologist, someone must complete a four-year bachelor’s degree, four years of medical school, and a urology residency. Then, they may take on an additional fellowship focusing on andrology and sperm.

This includes taking all necessary exams related to medical school, such as the MCAT in the US, Canada, and Australia (other countries require different exams). Finally, aspiring andrologists must pass the standardized national licensure examination and meet other state-specific requirements to obtain a medical license and become a board-certified urologist.

History of andrology

Though organized reproductive medicine in the US can be traced back to the founding of the American Society for the Study of Sterility in 1944, the term “andrology” was first proposed in 1951 by Harold Siebke, a professor of gynecology in Germany. (Andros is Greek for man, and “ology” denotes a field of study.) Until then, the pathology and physiology of the male reproductive system had been largely ignored.

Biologists, genetics, and psychologists soon came together to solidify andrology as a clinical science. In 1969, the first scientific journal dedicated to the subject, titled Andrologie, was conceived. And in 1975, over 600 scientists and clinicians from all over the world established the American Society of Andrology (ASA) to further the evolution of study in male reproductive health.

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