Male depression may lower pregnancy chances among infertile couples, study suggests

May 17, 2018, National Institutes of Health
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

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, 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 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 . 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 , compared to 2.28 percent of the men.

Women using non-SSRIs were roughly 3.5 times as likely to have a first trimester , compared to those not using antidepressants. Couples in which the had major depression were 60 percent less likely to conceive and have a than those in which the male partner did not have major depression.

The study did not include couples who underwent in vitro fertilization because the authors thought that this procedure could potentially overcome some possible effects of , such as reduced sexual desire and lower sperm quality.

Explore further: Depression and anxiety may reduce chances of IVF pregnancy

More information: Emily A. Evans-Hoeker et al. Major depression, antidepressant use, and male and female fertility, Fertility and Sterility (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.01.029

Related Stories

Depression and anxiety may reduce chances of IVF pregnancy

March 7, 2016
Depression and anxiety, and not necessarily the use of antidepressant medication, are associated with lower pregnancy and live birth rates following in vitro fertilisation, according to a large register study from Karolinska ...

1 in 20 younger women suffers major depression

March 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—Depression is a big problem in women during and after pregnancy, but it's also a concern throughout the reproductive years.

Depression lowers women's chances of pregnancy, study finds

May 24, 2016
Women with severe depressive symptoms have a decreased chance of becoming pregnant, while the use of psychotropic medications does not appear to harm fertility, a study by researchers from the Boston University Schools of ...

Couples with obesity may take longer to achieve pregnancy, study suggests

February 3, 2017
Couples in which both partners are obese may take from 55 to 59 percent longer to achieve pregnancy, compared to their non-obese counterparts, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health.

Standard treatment better than proposed alternative for unexplained infertility

September 23, 2015
Treatment with clomiphene, a standard therapy for couples with unexplained infertility, results in more live births than treatment with a potential alternative, letrozole, according to a study of more than 900 couples conducted ...

Increased risk of depression for mothers undergoing fertility treatment

August 18, 2015
Women giving birth after undergoing fertility treatment face an increased risk of depression compared to women ending up not having a child following fertility treatment, according to new research from the University of Copenhagen. ...

Recommended for you

Human Cell Atlas study reveals maternal immune system modifications in early pregnancy

November 14, 2018
The first Human Cell Atlas study of early pregnancy in humans has shown how the function of the maternal immune system is affected by cells from the developing placenta. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Newcastle ...

Soy formula feeding during infancy associated with severe menstrual pain in adulthood

November 9, 2018
New research suggests that infant girls fed soy formula are more likely to develop severe menstrual pain as young adults. The finding adds to the growing body of literature that suggests exposure to soy formula during early ...

A major role for a small organ in the immune response during pregnancy

November 9, 2018
The immune system of a pregnant woman is altered during pregnancy, but not in the way previously believed, according to results from a study at Linköping University, Sweden. This study, published in the Journal of Allergy ...

Mailed HPV tests can help find women at-risk for cervical cancer, study finds

November 7, 2018
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers have found that mailing self-collection kits to test for high-risk human papillomavirus infection has the potential to boost cervical cancer ...

Women who give birth to boys much more likely to have postnatal depression

November 6, 2018
A University of Kent study into postnatal depression (PND) found the odds of developing this condition increased by 79% when mothers had baby boys compared to baby girls.

New study takes first step toward treating endometriosis

November 1, 2018
Researchers at Northwestern Medicine have taken the first step in bioengineering the human uterus to treat endometriosis, uterine-factor infertility and endometrial cancer.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.