12 Medications & Supplements that May Affect Fertility
When trying to have a baby, it’s important to consider you and your partner’s overall health, from what you eat and drink, to your physical activity, to the medications and supplements you take.
If you are trying to get pregnant, you and your partner should speak to your doctors about any prescription and over-the-counter drugs you’re using. While many treatments are fine to continue while trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy, certain medications may impact your fertility or the health of the baby. Do not make any changes to your medications without the guidance of your healthcare provider.
Below is a look at some of the main types of medications that are linked to fertility issues, for both men and women.
Medications That May Affect Male Fertility
- Alpha Blockers: Used to treat urinary symptoms as the result of an enlarged prostate; may affect ejaculation.
- Testosterone Replacement Therapy: Can lead to low sperm count or an inability to produce sperm.
- Depression Medications: Certain antidepressants can cause sexual dysfunction or trouble ejaculating.
- Steroids: Anabolic steroids can interfere with sperm production and lower sperm count.
For a more comprehensive list of medications that can impact male fertility check out this article from the Cleveland Clinic.
Medications That May Affect Female Fertility
- Depressions Medications: Some antidepressants can affect ovulation and may raise hormone levels such as prolactin.
- Steroids: Some corticosteroids can impact fertility in women by preventing the release of hormones needed for ovulation.
- Thyroid Medication: Medications given to treat thyroid disorders can improve fertility. But if not taken in the correct dosage, and the thyroid remains underactive, it may affect prolactin levels and alter ovulation.
- Antiepileptic drugs & Antipsychotics may impact fertility
Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, can be detrimental to both male and female fertility as well – sometimes permanently. If you are getting ready to start treatment, consider talking to your doctor about ways to preserve your fertility through sperm or egg freezing.
Alcohol, marijuana and tobacco use may also impact fertility. Heavy drinking (10-14 drinks per week) and smoking can impact testosterone levels and sperm counts in men and reproductive health and implantation for women.
Do any medications or supplements help fertility & pregnancy?
Prenatal Vitamins: Perhaps the most important supplement to start taking when thinking about pregnancy is a prenatal vitamin. Among many other important nutrients, prenatal vitamins provide folic acid and iron, both of which aid in the healthy development of the baby early in the pregnancy. The Mayo Clinic recommends starting a prenatal vitamin before conception – even suggesting it’s a good idea for all women of reproductive age.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: In addition to being good for your overall health, these healthy fats have been shown to help regulate your hormones, increase blood flow to the uterus and aid in the implantation of the embryo in the uterus. Fish including salmon and sardines are good sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, but if you don’t eat fish regularly, you might consider taking fish oil or algal oil instead.
CoQ10: Coenzyme Q10 is a type of antioxidant that is naturally created by the body and found in many foods, including organ meats and fish. Our bodies’ production of CoQ10 slows down as we age. Some studies suggest taking CoQ10 supplements can improve the ovarian response and increase rates of conception for women undergoing fertility treatment. Talk to your doctor about if a CoQ10 supplement might be right for you.
Vitamin D: Low Vitamin D levels have been linked to women not conceiving as easily on their own and lower birth rates in women undergoing fertility treatment. Natural sources of Vitamin D include sunshine (aim for about 10 minutes of sunlight per day, but use sunscreen for longer exposure) and seafood like salmon, tuna and mackerel. Certain foods can also be fortified with Vitamin D including dairy and plant-based milks, yogurt and tofu – just check the nutrition label. You can also take a Vitamin D supplement. Talk to your doctor about an appropriate dosage based on your Vitamin D level.
Learn more about the fertility journey at Future Family’s blog and FAQs. Ready to start your fertility journey? Take 2 minutes to prequalify for a loan today. It's free and does not affect your credit score.