Australian men taking antidepressants can damage their sperms and chances of fathering a baby, according to a study.
US research published in the latest New Scientist magazine has found that the drug Paroxetine, marketed in Australia as Aropax, significantly lowers sperm quality.
The team from Cornell Medical Centre in New York put 35 healthy men on the drug for five weeks, with examinations after four weeks showing no change in sperm quantity, shape or movement.
But a closer examination found that on average, the proportion of sperm cells with fragmented DNA rose from 13.8 per cent before taking Paroxetine to 30.3 per cent after just four weeks.
The lead researcher Peter Schlegel said the statistics were "clinically significant", as it took men from relatively fertile to essentially infertile.
Professor Michael Chapman, director of infertility at IVF Australia, said there were evidences to suggest new generation antidepressants known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) affect fertility.
"This is something we've suspected for a while, with more evidence pointing in this direction," Chapman said, according to 'Herald Sun' report.
Statistics show an increasing number of Australians are being medicated for depression, with about 12 million prescriptions written each year.
Chapman said the use could be contributing to the increasing number of Australian couples with infertility problems.
The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, which markets Paroxetine, said it was currently reviewing the investigators' findings.