50% Of Men Become Infertile Just From Taking This Medication

The side effects worse than semi-erect penises.

man taking a pill fizkes / Shutterstock

For years, the biggest complaint people had about Prozac, Paxil, and other SSRIs was that they made sex awful. Men and women both complained of lowered libidos.

Men who still had libidos frequently said they couldn't get an erection.

And of those men who could, there were many who, despite their best efforts, couldn't ejaculate.

But is there a connection between antidepressants and male infertility?

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Some people on SSRIs managed to have sex; they even managed to get pregnant.

But of those that did, some found out that there was another side effect they didn't know about: birth defects. Birth defects were so bad that the FDA issued a warning that pregnant women taking Paxil risked giving birth to babies with holes in their hearts and other abnormalities.

It seemed bad. But not bad if you were one of those lucky men who could take SSRIs and still get an erection.

And so, those men continued to take SSRIs and have sex. And, in some cases, even tried to have kids.

But it turns out that they may be in for a shock.


As it so happens, SSRIs don't just mess with women who are pregnant; they also mess with men.

A 2015 study published in Fertility and Sterility concluded that half of the men taking SSRIs could have damaged sperm and compromised fertility.

The study, conducted by the New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center, followed 35 healthy male volunteers who took Paroxetine (Paxil) for five weeks to twenty-three months.

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At the end of the five weeks, sperm samples were taken from the men and examined to determine whether there were any missing pieces of genetic code in the DNA.


Their findings? The percentage of men with abnormal DNA fragmentation jumped from less than 10 percent at the beginning of the study to 50 percent afterward!

They also found that after as little as three months on antidepressants, men start showing problems with their sperm: reduced sperm motility, reduced sperm concentration, a higher percentage of abnormal spermatozoa, and increased levels of DNA fragmentation in the sperm.

That means that men who took those antidepressants had a higher chance of infertility.

If you're on SSRIs and want to procreate, you'd best talk to your doctor — whether you're a man or a woman.

Even one of their clinical trials showed that the children born of fathers who were taking antidepressants showed growth retardation.


They believe that SSRIs may be disrupting the endocrine system of babies.

Because, as unbelievable as it might seem now, there are far worse things to contend with than a low libido and semi-erect penis.

You should remember that if you want to have kids, if you take antidepressants, you are more likely to have a child that will experience fertility problems of their own.


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Kristen Meinzer is a writer and associate producer whose work has appeared in Time Magazine, Vice, Oprah Magazine, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, and Real Simple, and showcased on NPR’s The Big Listen, NPR’s All Things Considered, Buzzfeed News, and more.