Transferrin concentrations were quantitated in the seminal fluid of normal, oligozoospermic, and azoospermic patients and related to other known parameters of testicular function. Transferrin concentration in the semen of patients 2 months after vasectomy (13.2 +/- 1.8 micrograms/ml) was significantly less than that obtained from pregnancy-proven donors (65.6 +/- 10.1 micrograms/ml). This indicates that approximately 80% of the seminal fluid transferrin is derived from the testes. The concentration of transferrin in semen from patients with azoospermia (14.4 +/- 1.8 micrograms/ml), severe oligozoospermia (17.5 +/- 1.7 micrograms/ml), and moderate oligozoospermia (21.8 +/- 4.3 micrograms/ml) was significantly lower than normospermic groups. Serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) was measured in a group of infertile patients; those having an elevated FSH had a significantly lower concentration of semen transferrin, 14.1 +/- 1.6 micrograms/ml, compared with patients who had FSH levels within the normal range (33.7 +/- 5.3 micrograms/ml). It is possible that the underlying cause in decreased spermatogenesis associated with both an elevated FSH and a decreased transferrin concentration is impaired Sertoli cell function.