Ozempic and Mounjaro are injectable type 2 diabetes medications gaining popularity for their impressive weight loss effects. This has led some trying to conceive to use them off-label to lose weight and improve fertility. But is taking these medications without diabetes wise or safe for fertility goals? Important considerations exist.
How They May Help Fertility
Ozempic and Mounjaro are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists. They work by:
- Slowing digestion and suppressing appetite to promote weight loss
- Reducing insulin resistance, which can interfere with ovulation
- Decreasing risk of gestational diabetes later in pregnancy
Obesity is linked to hormonal disturbances, higher miscarriage risks, and reduced conception success. For overweight women or men with excess body fat, the rapid weight loss these injectables can stimulate may potentially balance hormones, improve sperm parameters in men, and aid chances of conception overall.
Potential Risks and Downsides
However, potential issues to weigh include:
- Unknown effects on a developing fetus – Safety during pregnancy is undetermined as these drugs rapidly cross the placenta.
- Possible birth defects or abnormalities – One study found slightly elevated risk of cleft lip and palate in infants exposed to GLP-1 drugs.
- Unpredictable fertility impacts – May initially decrease then subsequently increase fertility. Effects can vary in men and women.
- Other side effects – Nausea, vomiting, gallbladder disease, and acute pancreatitis have been reported. Long-term effects on bones, thyroid and other body systems remain unknown.
- High cost if not covered by insurance – Around $1000+ per month without coverage.
- Unknown long-term safety – Lack of data on using for years prior to planned pregnancy. Cancer risks have been suggested in animal studies.
- Potential overcorrection – Significant, rapid weight loss could hypothetically suppress fertility excessively. Moderate loss may be safer.
Experts generally recommend against using Ozempic, Mounjaro or similar GLP-1 drugs purely for fertility enhancement, especially not long-term. They advise:
- Pursuing conventional lifestyle measures first like diet, exercise, sleep and stress reduction.
- If using, limiting it to 3-6 months preconception at most.
- Monitoring weight monthly to avoid over-correction.
- Stopping immediately if pregnancy occurs or when actively trying to conceive.
- Reporting use to providers since effects during pregnancy are unknown currently.
Those with obesity or diabetes should discuss risks and benefits with fertility specialists. But for most looking to simply boost fertility, proven lifestyle approaches likely pose fewer uncertainties. More research on long-term safety is still needed.