Yes, drugs, vitamins, medications and even herbal remedies can affect your fertility. So if you’re having trouble conceiving, gather a list of what you and your partner are taking and talk to your doctor.
- In women, medications that raise prolactin hormone levels can affect ovulation and reduce fertility – chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, haloperidol, risperidone, metoclopramide, methyldopa, and cimetidine. Some older antidepressants like amitriptyline, SSRI antidepressants like sertraline or fluoxetine, and many others may affect egg quality and ovulation. Immunosuppressants such as cyclophosphamide can also cause reduced ovarian reserve. Drugs that may affect the ovaries but have not been well studied long-term include newer immunosuppressants like tacrolimus and sirolimus, and antirheumatic drugs like hydroxychloroquine or methotrexate.
- For men testosterone treatment, anabolic steroids, narcotic painkillers, SSRI antidepressants like sertraline or venlafaxine, sulfasalazine, smoking, heavy alcohol, and marijuana can all affect fertility. Sperm numbers and quality are relatively easy to measure compared to female fertility.
- For both men and women, recreational drugs reduce the chance of pregnancy and having a healthy baby. Using cannabis can lower men’s sperm count. Long-term use of cocaine, heroin and ecstasy can lead to permanent reproductive problems for men and women.
- People do not always think of it as a drug, but caffeine is pretty powerful and too much can lower fertility in women. Lower your intake to one cup a day or switch to decaffeinated and then avoid it all together if you keep having issues.
- Smoking cigarettes limits fertility in both men and women, and don’t think that smoking cannabis is somehow better because it is ‘natural’. Because smoking damages the genetic material in eggs and sperm, miscarriage and offspring birth-defect rates are higher among patients who smoke. Smokeless tobacco, e-cigarettes or “vaping” also lead to increased miscarriage rates. Infertility rates in both male and female smokers are about twice the rate of infertility found in nonsmokers. The risk for fertility problems increases with the number of cigarettes smoked daily.
- John’s wort, echinacea, and ginkgo biloba are among the herbs that may affect the chances of conceiving. Again, it is important to talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking to make sure they are not working against you.
Vitamins, natural remedies, over-the-counter and prescription drugs can all have a beneficial or adverse affect on your fertility. Habits and diet can as well. If you have been trying for over a year to get pregnant if you’re under 35 or just 6 months if you’re 35 or older, talk to a fertility specialist. One of the first things you’ll go over is your medications. While these things are important, they are rarely the only factor. But with the help of an expert most fertility obstacles can be overcome so you can proceed to having a healthy bundle of joy.