For a study, researchers sought to investigate the link between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) usage and sperm quality.
They conducted a retrospective examination of all males with a semen analysis (SA) for fertility evaluation at a single academic medical facility from 2002 to 2020. Men were barred from participating if they had previously been exposed to spermatotoxic medicines, clomiphene citrate, gonadotropins, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or medical disorders known to impair male fertility. An outpatient prescription within 90 days of any sperm test was used to determine SSRI exposure. Wilcoxon rank-sum for continuous variables and chi-squared tests for proportions were used to analyze differences between males who had and did not have SSRI exposure. To investigate the connection between SSRI usage and individual semen parameters, univariable and multivariable linear regression models were fitted, adjusting for age at the time of the semen study and non-SSRI drug use.
A total of 8,861 males were identified, with 153 (1.7%) having been exposed to SSRIs previous to SA. The median age was 35 years (interquartile range: 32-39), and it was comparable between groups (P=.999). Men on SSRIs were much more likely to utilize non-SSRI medications (78.4% vs. 23.3%,<.001). SSRI exposure was not linked with changes in semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, total motile sperm count, or normal morphology in univariable or multivariable models.
SSRI exposure was not related with altered sperm parameters in adult males undergoing fertility assessment. The findings may aid in reproductive counselling and medical decision-making about the use of SSRIs in males seeking fatherhood.