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    Do Antibiotics Affect Fertility: Debunking Common Myths and Misconceptions

    Getting Pregnant

    Do Antibiotics Affect Fertility: Debunking Common Myths and Misconceptions

    Updated on 29 August 2023

    Medically Reviewed by

    Dr. Shruti Tanwar

    C-section & gynae problems - MBBS| MS (OBS & Gynae)

    View Profile

    When one plans to conceive, they will put their best foot forward to boost the odds of getting pregnant. Multiple factors can impact your fertility, like your age, body weight, and lifestyle, including smoking and drinking habits. But do antibiotics affect fertility?

    The latest research shows that antibiotics on prolonged use can adversely impact the quality of sperm. In this article, we will understand the link between antibiotics and fertility and answer questions like, can antibiotics affect implantation and fertility.

    Do Antibiotics Affect Fertility?

    Antibiotics are the commonly used drugs to combat infection, and it is one class of drugs that is often debated to be misused or overused. Research has found that antibiotics cause serious harmful effects on spermatogenesis or the function of spermatozoa in males.

    Some antibiotics like nitrofurans or sulfasalazine are known to result in infertility or cause considerable changes in the semen parameters. However, some commonly used antibiotics like penicillin or quinolones have a reduced impact on male fertility, even with prolonged use.

    A common practice is that women who are trying to conceive are kept away from antibiotics and cold medicines. Less evidence is available to prove that antibiotics seriously threaten female fertility. An interesting fact is that there might be no impact of falling ill at the same time as your ovulation, although it can hamper the desire to have intercourse.

    What Does Prolonged Use Mean?

    Prolonged use means intake of antibiotics medicines for a longer time frame than usual and is generally set as one month by most researchers. Antibiotics are medicines that are utilized in the management of bacterial infections. They are generally of two types: generalized and specific, and sometimes the treatment can be continued for longer.

    One of the important property of antibiotic is their selective toxicity which means that it selectively kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms which causes minimum or no harmful effects to the host. However, prolonged usage can result in adverse impacts and negatively impact fertility.

    Do Antibiotics Affect Fertility in Females?

    The use of antibiotics can hamper a woman's ability to conceive. The biggest scare amongst ladies is that it can impact menstruation, ovulation, or embryo implantation, which interferes with the natural conception process. Although, there is no proof to suggest that antibiotics adversely impact female fertility, it has been observed that the prolonged use of antibiotics can cause imbalance in the hormones responsible for menstruation, ovulation, or implantation.

    Also read: How to Increase Fertility in Women: Ayurvedic Herbs to Help You Conceive Faster

    Do Antibiotics Impact Fertility in Males?

    Many men wonder do antibiotics affect sperm when trying to conceive. Yes, antibiotics can have an impact on male fertility. Research suggests that certain antibiotics like tetracycline, doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, ceftazidime, amoxicillin, and clavulanic acid may affect sperm quality or contribute to infertility.

    Other commonly used antibiotics like minocycline have also been shown to be toxic to sperm. However, the research on the impact of antibiotics on sperm is still limited and ongoing.

    When Can You Try to Conceive After Taking Antibiotics?

    The harmful impact of antibiotics on fertility must stop in three months after completing the course of antibiotics for a longer duration. However, if you are still worried, then you can talk to your doctor and can ask for safer antibiotics which have a less negative impact on fertility.

    How to Prevent the Harmful Impact of Antibiotics?

    When it comes to antibiotics and fertility, the first step is to talk to your doctor and tell them about your conception plans. It will help them pick safer medicines that have a reduced impact on a person's fertility.

    However, if the situation demands a particular medicine and no other option is available, you can wait for 3-6 months before planning your pregnancy. In 3-6 months, all these drugs' adverse effects begin to diminish, and then you can start your parenthood journey without any stress or worry.

    To sum-up

    Antibiotics are commonly prescribed medicines to combat bacterial infection. The latest research shows that antibiotics can hurt the fertility of an individual and are more pronounced in males than females. The harmful impact includes:

    • Changes in the semen parameters
    • Poor quality of sperm
    • Changes in ovulation patterns
    • Menstruation troubles
    • Implantation delays

    An important point of consideration is that these changes are observed when the antibiotics are taken for a prolonged duration, for around a month. To prevent the harmful effects of antibiotics on fertility, one can talk to their doctor to prescribe safer medicines. If that is not possible, you can wait for 3-6 months to neutralize the adverse impact on fertility.


    1. Crowe, H. M., Wesselink, A. K., Wise, L. A., Wang, T. R., Horsburgh, C. R., Mikkelsen, E. M., & Hatch, E. E. (2021). Antibiotics and fecundability among female pregnancy planners: a prospective cohort study. Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)

    2. McInerney, K. A., Hatch, E. E., Wesselink, A. K., Rothman, K. J., Mikkelsen, E. M., & Wise, L. A. (2017). Preconception use of pain-relievers and time-to-pregnancy: a prospective cohort study. Human Reproduction (Oxford, England)

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    Medically Reviewed by

    Dr. Shruti Tanwar

    C-section & gynae problems - MBBS| MS (OBS & Gynae)

    View Profile

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