Does minoxidil affect fertility?

For those of us concerned if the use of topical minoxidil might affect their fertility or if the use of minoxidil is safe while pregnant, I studied what the current research has to say about the topic.

Let us start off by examining the effect that minoxidil has on male fertility.


Minoxidil effect on male fertility

Effects of androgen and estrogen on male fertility.

Topical minoxidil solutions have shown no adverse effect on male fertility so far, but it may cause sexual dysfunction in some rare cases. Minoxidil has shown no negative side effects on sperm.

Minoxidil is an anti-androgen (or anti-testosterone) molecule. Since it is applied on the scalp for hair loss, it doesn’t affect other parts of the body. This means that it doesn’t affect male fertility.
Although, finasteride (Proscar, Propecia) which is another popular medicine to combat male pattern baldness has been shown to negatively impact male fertility.



Minoxidil side effects sexually

So does minoxidil have sexual side effects?

There might be a correlation between minoxidil and erectile dysfunction. Although the evidence is certainly not conclusive, and it is only reported in rare cases.

One study suggests that minoxidil might cause erectile dysfunction.

The study suggests that after ruling out organic and psychogenic causes of the man’s erectile dysfunction and decreased libido, the topical minoxidil 5% was the cause of the patient’s clinical problem. And thus, the 5% minoxidil solution should be considered as a cause of unexplained erectile dysfunction and decrease in libido.

Overall, most people who apply topical minoxidil have not reported many sexual side effects.

By the way, you should attempt to keep the minoxidil on your face for at least 4 hours for maximum effect.


Is using topical minoxidil during pregnancy safe?

Image of a pregnant woman holding her belly with her hands.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for their use during pregnancy. There are five possible categories. Categories A, B, C, D, and X are currently used to sort the potential risks to an unborn baby when taking a medication/drug during pregnancy.

Topical minoxidil is listed as FDA pregnancy category C. This means that it is unknown if topical minoxidil will harm an unborn baby or not.

That’s why it is not advised for women to use minoxidil during pregnancy or when breastfeeding their baby. This is because it is currently also not known if minoxidil can be transferred to the baby when giving breast milk or not. Thus, it could potentially hurt a nursing baby.[1]

It must be noted that there are currently no adequate or well-controlled studies in humans. More high-quality studies in humans are necessary in order to reach a well-informed consensus.

Another study evaluated if topical minoxidil solution while pregnant was safe for female use by evaluating pregnancy outcomes.

They concluded the following:

TMS is a safe and effective treatment for androgenetic alopecia (AGA). There is no apparent increased risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Another particular study examined clinical reports submitted to the FDA Adverse Event Reporting System (FAERS) from 2004 to 2014. 

They found that finasteride was considerable more likely to produce reproductive toxicity compared to minoxidil.[2]

One case report suggests that topical minoxidil may cause fetal malformation.

The 28-year-old women in question applied 2% topical minoxidil daily because of female related baldness. After a routine ultrasound test at the 22 week of her pregnancy, the test showed considerable heart, brain and vascular deformities of the fetus. Pregnancy was interrupted as a result.[3]



The current research shows no correlation between minoxidil and female fertility. However, for safety measures, females should not use topical minoxidil during pregnancy or when breastfeeding.

Minoxidil has not shown to affect male fertility either. Although in rare cases, topical minoxidil might be a contributor to erectile dysfunction. If this is the case, discontinuing the topical minoxidil use should alleviate and eliminate the problem.