Do Antibiotics Affect Fertility?

ben bunting BA(Hons) PgCert Sport & Exercise Nutriton  Written by Ben Bunting: BA(Hons), PGCert.


Did you know that antibiotics can affect fertility? They're very safe when used in the appropriate dosage and duration. In most cases, the common side effects are temporary and mild. Any long-term effects of antibiotics tend to subside once the therapy is completed. In rare cases, however, antibiotics can affect fertility. If they do, the negative effects will typically subside after a few weeks or months.


A number of nonhormonal compounds are available for the treatment of infertility in couples. Using an appropriate combination, physicians can tailor a treatment regimen to the individual needs of a couple. Antibiotics are often used to treat infections in the urogenital tract, while anti-inflammatory drugs are given to control inflammation. Anti-inflammatory compounds and nutraceuticals, such as ashwagandha, may be used to prevent inflammation or promote sperm production.

Bacterial infections can cause infertility in both men and women. Infections can damage the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Bacterial infections are not always immediately evident. Sometimes they are associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, which leaves scars in the fallopian tubes and impairs a woman's ability to conceive.

A recent study found that antibiotic treatment reversed infertility in women. Antibiotics are now commonly prescribed to women undergoing infertility treatments. .

Generally, antibiotic treatment for male infertility has no negative effects on the female reproductive system. However, antibiotics have been proven to affect sperm in some male patients. Some antibiotics reduce leukocyte counts and improve ejaculate quality. Consequently, the treatment can improve sperm motility and increase the number of motile, normal spermatozoa in the testicles.

Taking antibiotics

One of the common questions a couple may have about conceiving is how taking antibiotics affects fertility. The truth is, most antibiotics are safe and effective if administered correctly. And the common side effects are mild and usually disappear shortly after stopping antibiotic therapy. 

Antibiotics, such as tetracycline, are designed to kill bacteria and make reproduction harder for them. These medications can also affect sperm quality. While some of them may be harmful to your fertility, they can still help prevent other serious diseases. The best way to combat infection is to strengthen your immune system, you can eat a healthy diet and start exercising. Antibiotics have also been proven to reduce semen volume and alter the function of sperm, but this research is still relatively limited.

One recent study looked at the impact of antibiotics on male fertility. It found that antibiotic treatment increased the likelihood of a successful pregnancy in a fifth of patients. The results of the study also suggested that antibiotics may improve sperm quality in a handful of patients. These results, however, are not conclusive. 

Sperm quality

To investigate the relationship between antibiotics and sperm quality, we first looked at the viability of sperm. Researchers used a staining method known as eosin/nigrosin. This method included dissolving 0.2 g of eosin and 2 g of nigrosin in buffered saline. We then incubated sperm samples in the solution for 30 s. We then evaluated them under 1000X magnification. Basically, the viability of sperm was defined as the proportion of intact sperms among the halo.

Studies have shown that bacterial contamination of sperm can cause a significant reduction in the number of viable sperms in the resulting ejaculate. Furthermore, bacterial contamination of semen can affect sperm DNA integrity. Bacterial infection can cause an increase in the level of oxidative stress (ROS) in the sperm, which may be a contributor to early embryonic development.

➡️READ: Natural treatments for male infertility

The analysis of sperm morphology is done through a CASA system. The CASA system is comprised of a Nikon Labophot-2 microscope with negative phase-contrast objectives. It also includes a Basler A312fc camera that captures images. The data obtained are then analyzed using Proiser software to identify a sperm's quality. 

Sperm viability

In a recent study, researchers evaluated the effects of antibiotics in semen extenders on sperm viability. They also examined the effect of MSLC on bacteria. Overall, there were no significant differences between the groups. The sperm concentration, motility, viability, and morphology were higher in the MSLC groups than the control group. In addition, our study also found a significant correlation between MSLC and sperm viability, as assessed by flow cytometry.

The relationship between antibiotics and sperm viability was also studied in two cases of pyospermia, a condition in which a male has an abnormally high concentration of white blood cells in his ejaculate.

In this case, antibiotics were given to these patients and the results showed no significant differences in sperm viability. One of the theories is that bacterial infections trigger a response in the immune system, which induces the production of antisperm antibodies.

Interestingly, the immune response to a bacterial infection in males elicits the development of antisperm antibodies. Kurpisz and Alexander have proposed that these findings are related and suggest a connection between antibiotics and sperm viability.

In another study, researchers found that bacterial contamination was reduced by density gradient centrifugation. SLC was found to reduce bacterial contamination by 90% in boar and human semen samples. With a higher g force, 50% of bacterial load was removed from stallion semen. This suggests that SLC may improve sperm viability in this scenario. Hence, it may be worth considering a combination of SLC to maximize fertility.

Sperm motility

The World Health Organization sets parameters for the evaluation of sperm motility. They measure sperm volume and concentration in milliliters of ejaculate. Above 20 million spermatozoa per milliliter, sperm motility is considered normal. Furthermore, 50% forward progression of sperm is considered normal. These criteria may be subjective. Researchers use various methods to analyze sperm motility.

During a study of 351 men, levofloxacin (Levofloxacin) had a significant impact on sperm motility. This antibiotic treatment improved the volume and pH of seminal fluid. The sperm count and global motility improved. The researchers also noted that this treatment had no effect on sperm viability within 30 days. Hence, this antibiotic is an effective treatment for sperm motility in men with low-grade cystic fibrosis.

Taking antibiotics during IVF

If you're planning to undergo IVF and you're worried about taking antibiotics, you're not alone. Many women worry about whether antibiotics can affect their fertility. However, there are some cases where taking antibiotics during the treatment will not affect your chances of conception. One example of an adverse effect is that it can reduce the quantity of sperm and make them swim less effectively. Antibiotics are used to treat infections, and while taking them isn't a cause of infertility per se, it can affect fertility in many ways, including altering sperm function and reducing semen volume. However, these effects shouldn't last longer than three months.

A doctor should not prescribe prophylactic antibiotics to patients undergoing IVF. The use of antibiotics during fertility treatment may impair the success of the process. A patient should consult a fertility specialist with any questions regarding the use of antibiotics during IVF. While some antibiotics are less harmful than others, you should still discuss your treatment plan with your fertility specialist before taking them. This way, you'll be sure to know what antibiotics to take and when.

Pregnancy-improving drugs such as Cipro or Erythromycin can also interfere with your fertility. Aspirin, Naprogesic, and Nurofen should be avoided during the IVF cycle. If you need to take any medications, your fertility doctor may prescribe low-dose Aspirin, which is safe during the procedure. A fertility doctor may also prescribe antibiotics. Your doctor will tell you which ones are safe to take during IVF.