Research confirms depression reduces male fertility.
(Source: National Institutes of Health – https://www.Nih.gov)
If you’re a man suffering from depression and you’re trying to conceive, your depression could re impacting your chances of fathering a child.
Depression in male partners has been found to reduce your chances of getting pregnant. A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility looked at data from 1,650 women and 1,608 men with unexplained infertility who were screened for depression and questioned about anti-depressant use.
Among couples being treated for infertility, depression in the male partner was linked to lower pregnancy chances, while depression in the female partner was not found to influence the rate of live birth, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The study also uncovered a link between anti-depressants, specifically non- SSRIs (non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) to miscarriage in women.
What does this mean for male fertility?
The bottom line is that depression in the male partner can have a significant impact on a couples chances of conceiving a child. In fact, couples in which the male partner had major depression were 60 percent less likely to conceive and have a live birth than those in which the male partner did not have major depression.
The study, which appears in Fertility and Sterility, also linked a class of antidepressants known as non-selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (non-SSRIs) to a higher risk of early pregnancy loss among females being treated for infertility. SSRIs, another class of antidepressants, were not linked to pregnancy loss. Neither depression in the female partner nor use of any other class of antidepressant were linked to lower pregnancy rates.
“Our study provides infertility patients and their physicians with new information to consider when making treatment decisions,” said study author Esther Eisenberg, M.D., of the Fertility and Infertility Branch at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), which funded the study.
Citing previous studies, the authors noted that 41 percent of women seeking fertility treatments have symptoms of depression. In addition, a study of men seeking IVF treatments found that nearly 50 percent experienced depression. The authors conducted the current study to evaluate the potential influence of depression in couples seeking non-IVF treatments.
The researchers combined data from two previous studies funded by NICHD’s Reproductive Medicine Network. One study compared the effectiveness of two ovulation-inducing drugs for establishment of pregnancy and live birth in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. The other study compared the effectiveness of three ovulation-inducing drugs at achieving pregnancy and live birth in couples with unexplained infertility. In each study, men and women responded to a questionnaire designed to screen for depression. Only the women were asked whether they were taking any antidepressants.
From the two studies, the researchers analyzed data for 1,650 women and 1,608 men. Among the women, 5.96 percent were rated as having active major depression, compared to 2.28 percent of the men.
Women using non-SSRIs were roughly 3.5 times as likely to have a first trimester pregnancy loss, compared to those not using antidepressants.
Questions around male fertility
The World Health Organization estimates that one in every four couples of reproductive age in developing countries experiences childlessness despite five years of attempting pregnancy.
A separate study estimated that more than 45 million couples, or about 15% of all couples worldwide, were infertile in 2010, while another unrelated study suggested that men were solely responsible for up to 30% and contribute up to 50% of cases overall.
Meanwhile, a recent analysis published in the journal Human Reproduction Update found that sperm counts of men in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand are plunging. Researchers recorded a 52% decline in sperm concentration and a 59% decline in total sperm count over a nearly 40-year period ending in 2011.
Stress reduces sperm count and semen quality
Depression in men is just one of many factors that can seriously reduce male fertility. Another key ingredient in male infertility is stress. Now, a new study suggests stress can reduce sperm and semen quality, which could have implications for male fertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, in around 40% of infertile couples the male partner is the sole cause or contributing cause of infertility.
The main cause of male infertility is sperm abnormalities, including low sperm production or misshapen or immobile sperm. Medical conditions – such as undescended testicles or ejaculation problems – can lead to sperm abnormalities, as well as health and lifestyle factors.
In this latest study – published in the journal Fertility and Sterility and led by researchers from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, NY, and Rutgers School of Public Health in Piscataway, NJ – the team investigated whether stress may affect sperm and semen quality.
The researchers found that men who experienced two or more stressful life events in the past year had a lower percentage of sperm motility and a lower percentage of sperm of normal morphology, compared with men who did not experience any stressful life events. They note this finding remained even after accounting for other factors that may influence semen quality, such as age, other health problems and history of reproductive health problems.
Although workplace stress did not directly affect semen quality in the men, the researchers found that those who experienced job strains had lower levels of the hormone testosterone in their semen, which could affect reproductive health.
In addition, they found that regardless of the levels of stress experienced, men who were unemployed had lower semen quality than those who were employed.
Psychological effects of male infertility
Feelings of stress, depression, guilt, or anxiety in infertile men can cause psychogenic impotence, which heightens the feelings of inadequacy that already accompany infertility.
The psychological stress of infertility has been shown to affect sperm parameters in significant and demonstrable ways that may further contribute to difficulties with erectile potency; emotional reactions to the infertility may alter or even undermine a previous consolidation of a sense of self as sexually adequate. Infertility weighs on many males’ minds; this creates mental instability, which often results in impotence.
Psychological causes of impotency may include:
- Clinical depression
- Relationship issues
- social interaction
All of the listed issues above can arise as a result of psychological effects of infertility in men.
Psychological treatment for male infertility
The most prevalent psychological treatment is counseling and marriage therapy. A lot of men believe that there are numerous disincentives to psychological treatment despite its potential benefits, especially for those forms of infertility most linked to psychological and behavioral factors. Men are much less likely to seek out psychological help than women.
Men who acknowledge infertility, articulate the sources of their anxiety, express their loss of confidence in sexual adequacy, deal openly with their wives’ disappointment and anger, and consciously redefine their male and marital roles show improved sperm counts and may even be more successful at impregnating their wives. There is an important role of psychoanalytic treatment when dealing with male infertility.
10 Ways You Can Improve Male Fertility
- Take D-Aspartic Acid Supplements
- Excercise Regularly
- Get Enough Vitamin C
- Relax – and Minimize Stress
- Take Vitamin D
- Try Tribulus Terrestris
- Fenugreek Supplements
- Get enough Zinc
- Get more sleep
- Take a semen supplement
You can improve your own fertility
Men should be aware that they often hold the key to their own fertility. First of all, you should keep in mind that fertility and libido usually go hand in hand with your general health. If you are eating well, exercising regularly, and making smart lifestyle choices (eg. avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol intake) – you will go a long way to keeping your reproductive system functioning and optimal capacity.
Numerous strategies can help improve your fertility, although this depends on its cause. Just remember that anything that improves your overall health is likely to boost your fertility at the same time. We encourage you to explore this site as we have a wealth of information on how you can increase semen production, boost sperm health and motility, and improve several aspects of your sexual performance and function!
“Stress linked to male fertility – Medical News Today”
“Male depression may lower pregnancy chances among infertile couples”
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