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ED Drugs Might Improve Sperm Quality, But More Study Needed

ED Drugs Might Improve Sperm Quality, But More Study Needed

A new study in the journal Urology suggests that men who take drugs for erectile dysfunction might develop healthier sperm.

The drugs, called phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors, are more commonly known by their brand names – Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis.

Researchers wanted to know what, if any, effects taking PDE5 inhibitors could have on sperm quality. They reviewed eleven medical studies that included 1,317 men overall.

PDE5 inhibitor use didn’t affect how much semen the men ejaculated or how much sperm was mixed with the semen.

But infertile men who took the drugs tended to have a higher percentage of “morphologically normal” sperm compared those who didn’t. This means that these sperm cells were well-formed, with an oval head and a single, long, straight tail. These characteristics make it easier to fertilize an egg cell.

Infertile men who used PDE5 inhibitors were also more likely to have better motility in their sperm cells. In other words, these cells were good “swimmers,” making them better suited for fertilization.

The results were seen only in infertile men, however. Fertile men’s sperm did not change after PDE5 inhibitor use.

The results are encouraging, but more study is needed before doctors can start recommending PDE5 inhibitors to treat male infertility.


Mayo Clinic

Trost, Landon

“My fiance had a semen analysis that showed he has abnormal sperm morphology. What does this mean?”

(May 20, 2015)

Men’s Health

Sgobba, Christa

“Can Taking Viagra Make Your Sperm Stronger?”

(April 11, 2017)

Renal and Urology News

Charnow, Jody A.

“Oral ED Drugs Found to Benefit Infertile Men”

(April 3, 2017)


Tan, Ping

“The Effect of Oral Phosphodiesterase-5 Inhibitors on Sperm Parameters: A Meta-analysis and Systematic Review”

(Abstract. Published online: March 1, 2017)

“What Are the Characteristics of Healthy Sperm?”