Antidepressants Linked to Sperm Damage

Sep 25, 2008
Scientists found that antidepressants may lower men's chances of becoming a father, since they were found to harm sperm.

The study published in New Scientists magazine revealed that drug paroxetine, usually prescribed for treating depression may actually contribute to worse sperm quality.

US researchers at Cornell Medical Center in New York conducted a research, asking 35 healthy men to take the paroxetine drug for five weeks to find the potential effect on sperm quality. All volunteers gave sperm samples before and after the experiment. Initially, the results did not reveal the significant changes in sperm quantity, shape or movement. However, at closer examination, the findings showed that the percentage of sperm with DNA fragmentation increased from 13,8% up to 30,3% after four weeks of taking the drug.

Peter Schlegel, the leading author of the study said that the results were "statistically significant", reducing the male fertility.
Paroxetine, also known as Seroxat or Paxil, is taken by a great number of men to ease the symptoms of depression. The results of the study may explain why many couples have problems with conception.

Scientists say the further research is need to find if the damage in sperm has a negative impact on overall fertility or the proportion of undamaged sperm is enough to lead to a viable pregnancy.

Earlier studies on couples undergoing IFV treatment showed that men who were found to have higher percentage of sperm with DNA damage actually produced fewer embryos and most of them failed to implant in the womb.

For men seeking for fertility treatment, it might be reasonable to consult their doctor on taking other antidepressants or use some methods to improve their chances to conceive, like reducing the alcohol intake, quit smoking or increasing the number of ejaculations.