Can Stem Cell Therapy Boost Testosterone?

by Cy Willson

A Promising New Study

Will stem cell therapy replace testosterone replacement therapy? A new study investigates.

Stem cell therapy may one day be used to repair your damaged heart, maybe even grow a brand new one for you. It may cure Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, repair spinal cord injuries, heal the blind, regenerate damaged or aging tissues, and fight off cancer. Right now, however, stem cell therapy is still in the experimental stages.

So, could stem cell therapy be used to boost testosterone? If stem cells could restore the function of the hypothalamus, or the pituitary and Leydig cells of the testicles, it could increase endogenous testosterone production.

This would be the most ideal way to restore T levels in men. It would avoid the potential disadvantages of exogenous testosterone administration, and even the use of other agents that increase testosterone production, like gonadotropic hormones and anti-estrogens.

A Recent Study

A new study used multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells or MMSCs (1). These cells can be obtained from a variety of sources (bone marrow, adipose tissue, or umbilical cord blood) and can differentiate into several types of cells. They’re also self-replicating without causing your immune system to kick in and view them as a threat.

In this study, 60 men with non-obstructive azoospermia or NOA (men with no sperm, caused by something other than a blockage) were given MMSCs derived from donated, post-birth umbilical cord blood. It was injected both intravenously and, yep, right into the testicles.

Testosterone and gonadotropins (LH and FSH) were measured at baseline and three months after the procedure. Average total testosterone levels went from being in the hypogonadal range – around 251 ng/dl – into the normal range, around 355 ng/dl. LH also rose while FSH, oddly enough, declined.

The researchers couldn’t explain the discrepancy between the rise of LH and the decrease in FSH, nor exactly how testosterone levels rose. Presumably, at least part of the rise was caused by newly differentiated Leydig cells.

While the data clearly show that testosterone rose on average, a significant portion of the men still couldn’t get out of the hypogonadal range. Obviously, we need more research to see how effective stem cell therapy could be as a method for restoring testosterone production.

Infertile men with NOA may not be very representative of someone experiencing low T due to aging or other causes. Nonetheless, these are promising results. It's tantalizing to think that one day, low T might be treated with a few periodic injections of stem cells.

Of course, stem cell therapy could also be used for doping in sports. This would be difficult to detect with standard approaches. Umbilical cord blood might be detectable via DNA differences, but what about those derived from your own adipose tissue? Tricky, tricky...



  1. A Popova, T Shatylko, S Gamidov, D Silachev, G Sukhikh, (106) Stem Cell Therapy Leads to an Increase in Testosterone Levels in Infertile Men, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 21, Issue Supplement_2, March 2024, qdae002.096.

I’m not sure I’d be down for an injection into my testicles for an increase in Test (although a 40% gain is nothing to sneeze at) into the low end of the normal range (300 - 1000ng/dL and assuming 1000ng/dL is the normal range for a 20ish year old male and 300ng/dL the normal range for a 55 year old male in Test decline). Personally, I’d like to see a threefold increase if we’re to look at this as a new way to replace TRT in aging men. Unfortunately the study abstract didn’t mention the ages of the patients in the study either, however non-obstructive azoospermia is primarily diagnosed in young(er) men trying to father children, so this could be promising for older men who don’t want to go the TRT route.

Personally, speaking from experience, it’s much easier and less troublesome to shoot 1ml of enclomiphene citrate orally once per day. This has proven to effectively increase my total test levels from the high 200’s to almost 700ng/dl at a dose of just 12.5mg. I know some of the current providers are doubling that dose. I am 71 yrs, and was an NPC competitor who cycled regularly in the 80’s and 90’s. I used TRT up until 2020, so not having to inject myself to achieve the same result is nice. A needle in the boys is just not acceptable.

I think enclomiphene can be effective but it depends upon the cause. For individuals suffering from primary hypogonadism (i.e., testicles not responding to LH) or individuals suffering from decreased sensitivity of the Leydig cells to LH, enclomiphene isn’t going to be effective. For secondary hypogonadism it will be.

And there are some that are concerned about the long-term safety and increased risk of thromboembolism with SERMS.

I definitely understand not wanting intra-testicular injections though! And overall, I’m a fan of SERMs for TRT depending upon the cause of low T and upon the individual.