If you are trying to conceive with the help of a fertility specialist, you probably have a list of things you are anxious about. Along with waiting to hear the good news, there's the concern about future procedures or the side effects of your treatment. The last thing you need is to get sick during this time, but if you do come down with an infection of some kind and are prescribed antibiotics, you may be worried about the drug interactions affecting your treatment. Do antibiotics interfere with fertility medications and treatments, or can you take them without the worry?
When you get a prescription for antibiotics from your doctor, it’s probably because you have an infection that needs to be treated, but if you are already on certain drugs for fertility, they may cause some interference. Romper reached out to Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, Director of Fertility Preservation at Fertility Centers of Illinois, who says that antibiotics can sometimes impact the metabolism of other medications, including fertility medications. She says that even in the context of pregnancy, certain antibiotics should be avoided, so it is important to let your infertility physician know exactly what medications you are taking.
According to Cyn Fertility, some antibiotics that may be safe to use during fertility treatments like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which can increase the risk of infection in men and women. The website mentioned that a research study done by fertility specialist Attila Toth, M.D., found that intrauterine infections could cause IVF cycles to fail, so it may be helpful to use specific and safe antibiotics to clear up any infections.
Chicago pharmacist, Bineesh Moyeed, tells Romper in an interview that in certain cases, antibiotics can cause fertility drugs to be less effective, but it all depends on the type of antibiotics you are taking, along with the type of fertility drugs you are taking. When you take certain antibiotics, they can interact with the mechanism of action and mess with your body’s ability to metabolize the drugs, explains Moyeed. So depending on which fertility drug you are taking (and how it works in the body), certain antibiotics can cause it to decrease its level of effectiveness.
Moyeed suggests that when you are on fertility medications or treatments, you should let the doctor who is prescribing you the antibiotics know exactly what medications you are on, and let your fertility doctor know that you have an infection that requires antibiotics. For example, if your dentist is prescribing you antibiotics for a tooth infection, you can cross check with both to see if it’s OK to take. Moyeed says that this way, your doctors will be able to offer you the safest options available while keeping your fertility concerns in mind. “You should keep your entire healthcare team in the loop when it comes to taking medications,” she explains, “and never take any drugs without a comprehensive approval from your physicians.”
Unfortunately, infections can hit you at anytime. Whether it’s a yeast infection, a tooth infection, or an abscess, you can’t ignore a bacterial infection, even if you get one during your fertility treatments. Luckily, there is a broad class of antibiotics available, and some are safer than others when it comes to interactions with other drugs. There are also a variety of different fertility medications and treatments available that can still be effective with antibiotic treatment. Just make sure you have a comprehensive conversation with your fertility specialist about the infection and antibiotics you are taking, and hopefully you’ll feel better and get that good news you were hoping for soon.