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Can Taking Antidepressants Negatively Affect My Fertility?

I regularly take antidepressants, but should I stop since I'm trying to conceive?
ByDr. Nicole Browne
Fertility Specialist
Updated
March 2, 2017
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Image: Ponulis Lauris

No, there isn’t any data to suggest that anti-depressants affect female fertility (so far); however, one study did find that it had an effect on male fertility. According to the research, sperm exposed to anti-depressants has increased DNA fragmentation compared to sperm that has never been exposed to anti-depressants. This may affect the ability of sperm to fertilize an egg. What’s more, anti-depressants can also decrease libido, which in turn can be a cause of infertility.

However, one has to be careful about directly linking anti-depressants to decreased fertility, since depression itself can also be a contributing factor. Women who are depressed tend to smoke more, be overweight, have poor nutrition, decreased libido, and may even have elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) in their bodies, which can adversely affect reproduction.

So what should you do? If possible, it would be best to discontinue these medications before trying to conceive, however this should only be done in consultation with your physician.

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