Does Sertraline affect fertility? (3+ research findings)
In this article, we will discuss the effects of Sertraline on male and female fertility. We will also discuss the effects of Sertraline on the psychological effects of fertility and what one should do if Sertraline is causing changes in fertility.
Does Sertraline affect fertility?
Sertraline (Zoloft) may affect fertility in certain individuals. Although it is not commonly associated with this side effect, fertility irregularities are included in the list of potential side effects of Sertraline and other antidepressants, especially selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRI) (1,2).
Fertility refers to the ability to the ability to conceive and have a successful pregnancy. Various factors can influence fertility in both men and women, such as medications like antidepressants, age, mental health, and more (3).
While some people may encounter reduced fertility when using Sertraline, making it challenging to conceive, others may not experience this side effect. This variation occurs because people are unique and may react differently to medications.
It is essential to recognize that there is limited research on the effects of Sertraline on fertility. However, several studies have explored the connection between fertility and antidepressants.
What does research suggest?
There are limited research studies examining the effects of Sertraline on fertility. Most studies primarily focus on the impact of SSRIs on fertility and the safety of Sertraline during pregnancy, rather than its specific effects on fertility (1,2).
Some studies have suggested that SSRIs, including Sertraline, may have minimal impact on fertility. One such study revealed that women with a history of antidepressant use had 2.9 times higher odds of experiencing infertility (1).
Furthermore, this study indicated that women using SSRIs had a lower pregnancy rate in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) fertility treatments.
Studies have also investigated the impact of antidepressants such as Escitalopram and Sertraline on ovulation and menstruation. These studies have documented cases of women experiencing menstrual irregularities while taking this medication, which could potentially influence fertility in women (5).
Another study, focusing on the effects of SSRIs on semen quality, demonstrated that SSRI antidepressants, including Sertraline, may have the potential to influence semen quality.
This influence includes reducing sperm concentration and motility, as well as altering sperm DNA integrity (4). These effects have the potential to reduce fertility in men.
Furthermore, Sertraline’s side effects, such as erectile dysfunction and decreased libido, could also contribute to infertility in men (1,4).
However, it is important to consider the indirect effects of Sertraline on fertility. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety affect fertility due to stress. Sertraline’s primary role is to manage such conditions, indirectly benefitting fertility.
Common side effects of Sertraline on fertility
Sertraline’s impact on fertility is not fully understood; research continues. However, common side effects related to Sertraline and fertility include:
Decreased Libido and Sexual Dysfunction:
Changes in sexual desire, arousal, and performance may occur, including decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, and orgasm difficulties (1,2,4).
Some women may experience irregular ovulation and menstrual cycles while using Sertraline, potentially affecting fertility (1,5).
Changes in Sperm quality:
The earlier discussed changes in sperm quality affect male fertility.
What to do if Sertraline is affecting your fertility?
If you suspect that Sertraline is affecting your fertility, it is essential to consult your healthcare provider. You should provide detailed information about any changes you might have experienced since starting this medication. Explaining your concerns and symptoms will provide a basis for your assessment workup.
Based on the evaluation, your healthcare provider might consider adjusting your medication’s dosage or exploring alternative medications with potentially less likelihood of affecting fertility. They will carefully assess your situation and determine a suitable course of action for your specific needs.
However, you should not discontinue Sertraline abruptly without your doctor’s guidance. This medication can induce withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.
Sertraline is a valuable medication for managing mental health disorders, but, it is crucial to be aware of its potential effects on fertility.
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