Your endocrine system is made up of seven glands that produce hormones, and one maestro of all your hormones – the hypothalamus, which controls all seven of the glands. One of the endocrine glands involved in reproduction are your gonads, or your testes or ovaries.
Your hypothalamus stimulates your pituitary gland to stimulate your gonads to produce sex steroids. Testosterone in males, and estrogen in females.
Once a woman ovulates, the hypothalamus stimulates her ovaries to produce progesterone.
But your other endocrine glands are also involved in reproduction. In the sense that they can interfere with optimal reproductive status. For instance, when you’re under a lot of stress, the majority of your progesterone turns into cortisol. For women, this may mean irregular periods and an interruption in fertility due to stress.
Low thyroid hormones can also affect reproduction, causing irregular periods in women and infertility in both men and women.
If a woman with hypothyroidism is able to get pregnant, her low thyroid function will affect normal fetus development. Your pancreas, which is also part of your endocrine system, produces insulin and glucagon that control carbohydrate metabolism. Diabetics with very poor blood sugar control can have interruption in fertility.
Sleep hormones will affect reproduction as well.
If your pineal gland does not produce enough melatonin to initiate sleep, reproduction can be affected. Your pituitary gland’s production of prolactin can also affect reproduction. Too much prolactin blocks sex hormone receptor sites and can prevent conception. So yes, your endocrine system is intimately involved in your reproduction, and of course your hypothalamus, which controls your entire endocrine system, is responsible for maintaining reproduction.
If you want more information about reproduction and your endocrine system, please join me in our Hormone Support Group, which you can access through my free Hormone Reboot Training.