Americans are getting a crash course on the dangers of antidepressants on men who are trying to become fathers from an unlikely source, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
A plot line on the super successful NBC show "This is Us' to open the new season shows a character being told that his antidepressant use is blocking he and his wife's ability to have a child.
Dr. Matthew Reztloff, a fertility expert at the Fertility Center of San Antonio says that isn't just a plot device. There is a lot of truth to it.
"We have seen an increase in the population taking antidepressants and that is translating into some impacts on male fertility," he said.
In fact, new research has shown a direct connection between the rise in antidepressant prescriptions and what has been called the 'male fertility crisis' in America.
Dr. Retzloff says there are several things about antidepressants, which mainly work on parts of the brain, that suppress male potency.
"They can have an impact on fertilization and subsequent birth outcome," he said. "It has also been show to affect sperm count, that is the concentration, and the motility as well."
Dr. Retzloff says he would never suggest that a patient withdraw from any prescription drug without the express approval of the prescribing doctor, but he suggests that men who want to start or expand a family should also check with a fertility expert before beginning a course of treatment.
"I think every medication needs to be critically assessed with a couple is trying ot conceive," he says. "I always say the safest medicine is no medicine."
Issues of fertility have taken center stage in recent years as the age of women becoming pregnant with their first child has reached the oldest in history..occasionally requiring fertility treatment.