Fertility Study Links Male Depression & Trouble Conceiving

(CN) — Fertility researchers published a study Thursday that found a correlation between lower pregnancy chances and depression in the male partner.

While depression in the woman appeared to have no bearing on live-birth rates, the same study reports that females being treated for infertility while face a higher risk of early pregnancy loss if they are taking SSRIs, short for nonselective serotonin inhibitors.

Selective serotonin inhibitors, another antidepressant, did not share the same link.

Funded by a subdivision of the National Institutes of Health, the study was published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

It says 50 percent on men seeking infertility treatment experienced depression, while 41 percent of women seeking in vitro fertilization have depression symptoms.

“Our study provides infertility patients and their physicians with new information to consider when making treatment decisions,” said study author Esther Eisenberg, who works with the National Fertility and Infertility Branch at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Eisenberg and the other researchers drew their data from two earlier studies — both funded by the NICHD’s Reproductive Medicine Network — where men and women being treated for infertility were screened for depression. Only the women were asked whether they were taking any antidepressant.

The two studies involved 1,650 women and 1,608 men. One compared the effectiveness of three drugs that induce ovulation. The other compared how women with polycystic ovary syndrome responded to two ovulating-inducing drugs.

Of the patients studied, 5.96 percent of women had active major depression, compared with 2.28 percent of the men.

The study also says couples where the male partner suffers depression are 60 percent less likely to conceive, and women using non-SSRIs are about 3.5 times likely to have an early pregnancy loss compared to women on other antidepressants.

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