Anti-depressants & Male Fertility: Fertile Grounds for Concern


Certain anti-depressants may contribute to male infertility. Are some SSRI’s putting prospective fathers between a rock and a hard place?

For couples keen to start a family, there is a wealth of information about the proactive health measures for women to enhance their fertility and enjoy a safe and healthy pregnancy. However, mom is only one half of the genetic equation.

A proper diet, avoiding smoking and alcohol, and an active lifestyle will increase the odds of conception and decrease health risks for parents. Couples should also investigate any possible short and long-term side-effects from any prescription or over the counter medications they may be taking before trying to conceive. That includes medications prescribed to the father.

A recent study in Urology indicates that men who take SSRIs (anti-depressants such as Zoloft – Pfizer) for depression or, ironically, for the treatment of premature ejaculation (PE), may be experiencing detrimental effects on their sperm’s DNA; noticeably, sperm DNA fragmentation, sperm concentration and normal morphology. More disturbing, with a standard sperm test on the viability of a man on SSRIs, it would initially appear to a prospective father and the doctor that all is well.

Sperm DNA fragmentation is essentially missing pieces of code in the sperm’s DNA. A study by Weill Cornell Medical Centre seems to indicate that SSRIs lower the sperm integrity of men and may contribute to miscarriages.

Abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation appeared in 40% of other otherwise healthy study volunteers. To make conception even more difficult, SSRIs seemed to adversely interfere with the male’s production of serotonin, a vital component in how ejaculation occurs.

Ironically, beside possible issues with infertility, sperm abnormality and DNA integrity, men taking SSRIs for depression or PE may also experience a wide range of side-effects that with interfere with conception such as:

• Sexual dysfunction
• Erectile dysfunction
• Decrease in testosterone levels
• Lower sperm count
• Lower libido
• Nausea
• Extreme fatigue
• Excessive diarrhea
• Mania
• Insomnia …. (+ many other side-effects to SSRIs)

For a couple trying to conceive the above side-effects are not at all helpful, and no doubt contribute to the stress of trying to start a family.

More research is needed but studies from 2009 indicated that the adverse DNA fragmentation side-effects seem to disappear about a month after the men stopped taking the drugs. However, for patients prescribed these SSRIs, stopping “cold-turkey” can cause severe reactions, and they must reduce drug interaction over time.

Alternatives to SSRIs for Premature Ejaculation

For men seeking solutions to PE, alternative, drug-free treatments include behavioral therapy (BT), i.e. The Squeeze Technique and the Start-Stop method. The success rate for BT ranges from 45-65%. These techniques are non-invasive and do not have adverse side-effects. Some clinics also use yoga and meditation – ideas which have been in use for thousands of years.

Alternatives to SSRIs for Depression

A compromised auto-immune system from a poor diet can adversely affect your physical and mental health, and in turn, cause psychological stress, and therefore depression, PE, and numerous other ailments. When it comes to depression, the Maximized Living approach recognizes that the commercial food industry and modern nutrition contribute to the chronic health conditions that affect Western Civilizations.

Some in medicine can be quick to push drugs for problems that could be easily solved with simple lifestyle changes in nutrition and environment. It’s vital to identify the cause of the underlying health problem, not just mask a symptom with drugs.

Cynthia came off all SSRI’s using a Maximized Living approach

Click here to read Cynthia’s story

Top Tips to Conquer Depression Naturally

• Increase healthy fats
• Evaluate for B Vitamin Deficiencies (one of the more common nutritional causes of depression)
• Address accumulated toxicity
• Reduce grains and sugars
• High-intensity exercise (to increase testosterone)

A pharma-free solution means you do not have to deal with the adverse side-effects. Many of my clients who use the Maximized Living approach have experienced several other positive health benefits beyond what they originally sought. I’ve worked with clients who now no longer need their prescriptions for depression, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions. They lose excess weight, their chronic symptoms disappear, they no longer get colds and most importantly, they feel good.


Dr. B.J. Hardick

About Dr. B.J. Hardick

Raised in a holistic family, Dr. B.J. Hardick is the co-author of the best-selling Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, used in natural health clinics worldwide, and a contributing author for its follow-up publication, The Cancer Killers. Dr. Hardick shares his own journey dealing with heavy metal toxicity in Real Detox, his e-Book available on An organic food fanatic and green living aficionado, all Dr. Hardick’s passions are anchored in helping others achieve ecologically sound, healthy, and balanced lives. Learn More