Pp. 1-5 (5)
Marco G. Alves and Pedro F. Oliveira
Andrology has emerged since the 1950’s, when gynecologists started to
consistently refer to this word. However, in 1891, there was already an editorial in
JAMA suggesting that andrology could evolve to become an important discipline. It
was proposed that, as gynecology is a discipline that is focused on the study of genitourinary
female system, andrology could emerge as the discipline focused on the genitourinary
system of males. For many years, this issue was disregarded and there was a
long period until the first societies of andrology appeared and establish it in a definitive
way. This historical affirmation of andrology as a discipline will be briefly presented,
together with a critical view on some aspects that are still a matter of controversy.
Reproductive science is a growing discipline that needs economic support from health
care systems, institutions responsible for funding research, and training centers. There
was never a greater need for trained and well-prepared scientists and physicians to
study human reproductive health. Most countries, developed and developing, are
witnessing unprecedented rates of people seeking for assisted reproductive
technologies. Decreased sperm quality and male reproductive complications are factors
that unquestionably contribute to the observed decline in nativity rates. On the other
hand, even though females have various contraceptive methods available, men are still
limited. This could be improved if more knowledge on sperm formation, maturation
and overall testicular physiology arises. In this introductory chapter, we will discuss
some challenges for the upcoming years in the field of Andrology.
Andrology, Male reproductive tract, Male fertility, Male reproductive
Health Sciences Research Centre (CICS-UBI), Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Beira Interior, Covilha, Portugal.