The Master Gland

The Role of the Pituitary in Fertility

It may only be the size of a pea, but the body’s pituitary gland plays a critical role in fertility in both men and women. It also has a key role in your response to stress. In this article, we take a look at the workings of this small but essential gland.

The position of the pituitary Gland

Image Credit: Sebastian Kaulitzki /

What is the role of the pituitary in fertility?

Located in the middle of the base of the skull – and lined up with the bridge of the nose – the pituitary gland produces chemical messengers called hormones that control other glands in the body and regulate hormone levels in the blood. The pituitary hormones are secreted into the blood, travelling through the blood vessels until they reach their specific target organs. This branch of medicine is called endocrinology.

A number of different hormones are released by the pituitary. There are four main hormones that relate to your fertility:

  • Gonadotrophs (G FSH): In women, these are hormones that stimulate the formation of follicles in the ovary, which is where the egg matures during an ovarian cycle (the changes which happen in the ovary during a menstrual cycle).
    In men, these hormones trigger the production of sperm in the testicles.
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH): In men, this is responsible for triggering the production of testosterone.
    In women LH triggers oestrogen and progesterone production and prompts ovulation, which is the monthly release of an egg.
  • Prolactin (PRL): usually found in women, this hormone stimulates the breasts to produce milk.
    High levels of PRL may sometimes cause infertility by interfering with the normal production of other reproduction-related hormones.
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH): released by the pituitary, these hormones interact with the thyroid. This is a gland which sits in the neck and controls your metabolism, chemical reactions which manage energy levels, growth, and activity in the nervous system. Too much or too little TSH can affect a range of body functions, including the regularity of a woman’s period, to erectile function in men. It can also contribute to increased feelings of anxiety and cause a decrease in your sex-drive, if the levels aren’t quite right.


Pituitary gland problems are relatively rare, however, if your pituitary is not working properly hormonal imbalances occur that can impact your fertility.

If you suspect something is up, the starting point is usually a simple blood test to check your hormone levels. Gynii Me can help you find an appropriate endocrinologist with pituitary gland expertise.

What’s the link between stress and the pituitary gland?

Another key function of the pituitary gland is to control your stress response.

Stress is a normal part of everyday life. If a stress response is triggered, the pituitary gland acts as a mediator to help regulate other hormone secretions in the body.

However, too much stress can prevent the pituitary gland from doing its job. For example, high levels of stress can interrupt ovulation in women and reduce sperm count in men.

So, how can I manage my stress levels?

There are a number of approaches for keeping stress at bay, or at least at an acceptable level. Effective ways of reducing stress will vary from person-to-person, so keep an open mind whilst you explore what’s right for you. Some ideas could include:

  • Exercise: this releases positive hormones such as serotonin and endorphins and will help stabilise your mood. Exercise can also give you a great sense of accomplishment and help build the stamina your body needs to control the stress.
  • Sleep: try following a relaxing bed-time routine and aim to get at least 7-8 hours of rest a night.
  • Maintain a healthy social network: “lean” on friends and family for support and a “listening ear”. If you have partner, check in with them too, to see how they’re doing.
  • Start a new hobby: Find something fun or relaxing that helps you unwind. For example, meditating and keeping a “moods” journal can also be good stress-busters.

About Gynii Me

Gynii Me is a UK based company dedicated to supporting individuals and couples throughout their fertility journey.

We are committed to helping you, no matter what your situation or background, to understand your options and make the right decisions at each stage of your journey in starting a family. 

Our ultimate goal is to make fertility treatments accessible, affordable and transparent.


Our services

Gynii Me provides the following services:

  • Helping you choose the right fertility clinic and specialist doctor based on your age, health information and location
  • Access to our experience and specialist knowledge to help guide your fertility journey
  • Support to ensure a stress-free experience throughout your fertility treatment
  • Health management, including emotional support and wellness management, before and during fertility treatment
  • Providing flexible treatment funding options.

Gynii Me’s services can be accessed via our easy-to-use website, or please get in touch with us at