History of andrology
According to Taber's Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, ‘andrology’ is defined as the study of diseases of men, especially of the male genital organs (Thomas, 1989). Introduction of the term ‘andrology’ is credited to a gynecologist, Harald Siebke, a Professor of Gynecology in Bonn, Germany (Schirren, 1984). Professor Siebke used this term first in 1951 with the intention of demonstrating that the male and female are equally important in reproduction. Truer words have never been spoken! Although andrology refers to a study of male infertility, in the broadest sense, andrologists not only study the clinical aspects of male fertility, but also study the biological mission of the sperm, from production in the testes, to interaction with, and penetration of the oocyte at the time of fertilization.
Andrology as a science has made tremendous developments in the past 40 to 50 years. There are now national and international membership organizations (The American Society of Andrology), as well as national and international peer-reviewed journals (Journal of Andrology, Andrologia) devoted specifically to the field of andrology.
Leeuwenhoek and the discovery of spermatozoa
For centures, the theories of generation presented by Aristotle (reviewed by Schierbeek, 1959) were universally accepted. Aristotle believed that the male principle contained the efficient cause of generation and the female the material of it. Aristotle, in discussing whether semen comes from all parts of the body, wrote that the nature of semen is to be distributed to the whole of the body. Furthermore, Aristotle pointed out that the potential parts of the whole organism were found in the semen, not in the female.