Effect of antidepressant medications on semen parameters and male fertility

Int J Urol. 2020 Jan;27(1):39-46. doi: 10.1111/iju.14111. Epub 2019 Sep 21.


Antidepressant medications are commonly used in males of reproductive age for long-term treatment of depression, as well as other disorders. Although antidepressants are known to be associated with sexual side-effects, their effects on semen parameters and other markers of male fertility have been less thoroughly described. The majority of available studies have focused on selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which have been shown to negatively impact semen quality in in vitro, animal and human studies. Fluoxetine, in particular, has been the subject of multiple studies and has been associated with gonadotoxic effects, including decreased sperm concentration and motility, increased deoxyribonucleic acid fragmentation, and decreased reproductive organ weights. Studies of several other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors have yielded similar results. Reassuringly, this effect does seem to be reversible. The data regarding serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and atypical antidepressants are sparse, varied and conflicting. Given the widespread and often long-term use of antidepressant medications, there is a clear need for further data regarding their impact on semen quality and male fertility.

Keywords: antidepressant; effects; male infertility; medications; semen.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Fertility / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Semen / drug effects*
  • Semen Analysis


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Serotonin Uptake Inhibitors