Anti-depressants could be responsible for reducing male fertility, according to reports.
Researchers in the US had found that SSRIs, which are taken by millions of people around the world for the treatment of depression, could be damaging male fertility.
The researchers found that while they were taking the drugs, the men had extremely small amounts of motile sperm.
Common side effects are GI disturbances (nausea, soft stools or constipation), weight gain, sleepiness or insomnia. They can also cause sexual side effects, such as decreased sex drive, problems with erection, and delayed ability to reach orgasm or ejaculation.
Now it is believed that they can also reduce male fertility by cutting a man’s sperm count as well as retarding the normal shape and motility of their sperm by 50%. This effect can become evident within the first month of taking the medication and begins to have a major impact after just three months.
This combined with chronic stress and depression can lower a man’s level of testosterone, which in turn can decrease his sperm count and male fertility, even making him infertile.
Fortunately once the medication is stopped, fresh sperm which can take months to develop seem to return to normal. If the medication was resumed, the sperm once again became damaged.
Researchers said that the mechanism by which SSRIs might impair sperm motility was unclear, but added that men taking the drugs should not worry about their future fertility as SSRIs did not appear to have any long-term negative effects on sperm production.
Dr Tanrikut from the research team said that ‘The time course of improvements to normal semen parameters was within one month of discontinuing the antidepressant,’
‘This suggests that the SSRI has an impact on sperm transport through the male reproductive tract, rather than any effect on sperm production. Alterations in sperm producing would take approximately three months to show any improvements.’
This indicated that SSRIs were having transient and thankfully an easily reversible effect on male fertility.
The papers concluded that by taking SSRIs men risked being unable to start a family.
If you are taking anti-depressant medication or thinking about and are trying to get pregnant, it may be advisable to speak to your doctor who has prescribed the medication.
Further information on Anti-Depressants Effect Sperm and Male Fertility
Can antidepressants cause male infertility? - GP Online
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