Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) Use is Not Associated With Impaired Semen Parameters

Minh N. Pham, Aisha L. Siebert, Cory A. Faw, Justin M. Dubin, Matthew T. Hudnall, Jeremy D. Lai, James M. Wren, Nelson E. Bennett, Robert E. Brannigan, Joshua A. Halpern*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective: To examine the association between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) use and semen quality. Methods: We performed a retrospective review of all men undergoing semen analysis (SA) for fertility evaluation from 2002-2020 at a single academic medical center. Men were excluded if they had prior exposure to spermatotoxic medications, clomiphene citrate, gonadotropins, selective estrogen receptor modulators, or medical conditions known to impact male fertility. SSRI exposure was defined by an outpatient prescription within 90 days prior to any semen test. Differences between men with and without SSRI exposure were assessed with Wilcoxon rank sum for continuous variables and chi-squared testing for proportions. Univariable and multivariable linear regression models were fit to evaluate the relationship between SSRI use and individual semen parameters, controlling for age at the time of the semen analysis and non-SSRI drug use. Results: A total of 8861 men were identified, of whom 153 men (1.7%) were exposed to SSRIs prior to SA. Median age was 35 years (interquartile range: 32-39) and was similar between groups (P = .999). Non-SSRI medication use was significantly higher in men taking SSRIs (78.4% vs 23.3%, < .001). On univariable and multivariable analyses, SSRI exposure was not associated with differences in semen volume, sperm concentration, motility, total motile sperm count, or normal morphology. Conclusion: In adult men undergoing fertility evaluation, SSRI exposure was not associated with impaired semen parameters. These data may help inform reproductive counseling and medical decision-making regarding SSRI use in men seeking paternity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-144
Number of pages5
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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