Study: Men’s depression could lower chances of pregnancy for couples

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Some of the most common causes of infertility include issues with ovulation or the uterus. However, a man’s mental state may also affect a couple’s ability to conceive, according to a new report.

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Researchers from the National Institutes of Health recently conducted a study, published in the Fertility and Sterility journal, to determine how mental health among men and women can affect fertility.

To do so, they examined data from 1,650 women and 1,608 men who were recruited from NIH’s Reproductive Medicine Network. Many of the participants were couples undergoing some form of fertility, excluding in vitro fertilization. The subjects also completed a questionnaire that assessed their mental health.

After analyzing the results, they found that about 6 percent of women and about 2 percent of men were suffering from major depression. Although the number was low, the scientists noted that those with major depression were 60 percent less likely to conceive and have a live birth than men who did not have major depression.

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In fact, just three of the couples, which was less than 9 percent, had a live birth, compared to 25 percent of couples who had live births where the male did not have major depression. Depression in female partners did not influence the rate of live births.

The authors did not note why depression among men may lower infertility rates. However, they said, “our study provides infertility patients and their physicians with new information to consider when making treatment decisions.”

Other factors have been linked to infertility in previous studies. A 2018 one revealed a link between the use of antihistamines, such as allergy medication, and reduced production of male sexual hormones in the testicles, including inferior quality sperm and lower sperm count. And another trial published earlier this year discovered that ibuprofen could potentially result in male fertility.

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