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Evidence for a manifold role of selenium in infertility

  • Gesthimani MintzioriEmail author
  • Athanasios Mousiolis
  • Leonidas H. Duntas
  • Dimitrios G. Goulis
Review Article


This review aimed to assess the evidence from observational and interventional studies in humans and animals regarding the role of selenium (Se) in male and female infertility. As oxidative stress can seriously impair male, and possibly also female, reproductive functions, it can be speculated that the antioxidant properties of Se could constitute one of the pathways by which this element is involved in fertility. Specifically, there are strong indications that Se influences the growth, maturation, and replication of oocytes, though the precise mechanisms have not as yet been fully elucidated. Given that it is not clear at present which tissue sample (blood, serum, seminal plasma, sperm, or follicular fluid) renders the most accurate picture of Se concentration in terms of its role in reproduction, the data are still insufficient to recommend routine assessment of Se status in men and women seeking fertility. Nevertheless, the existing evidence, despite being of limited quantity and somewhat low quality, suggests that Se supplementation (< 200 μg/d) is possibly beneficial in men through its improvement of sperm motility. Well-designed, randomized control studies are needed to reveal the seemingly diverse protective/positive role of Se supplementation in men and women seeking fertility treatment.


Selenium Oocytes Fertility Infertility 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Hellenic Endocrine Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.1st Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyAristotle University of Thessaloniki Medical SchoolThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Unit of Reproductive Endocrinology, First Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyAristotle University of Thessaloniki Medical SchoolThessalonikiGreece
  3. 3.Evgenideion Hospital, Unit of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism, University of AthensAthensGreece

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