By Naomi Carr

Updated: 07 June 2024 & medically reviewed by Dr. David Miles

Ozempic and other similar medications are increasingly being used as weight loss drugs. Recently there have been reports in the media of people becoming pregnant after taking Ozempic or similar medications, despite previously having issues with fertility or being on birth control pills. These pregnancies are referred to in the media as ‘Ozempic babies’. [1][2]

Ozempic Babies: Do Weight Loss Drugs Cause Increased Fertility?

Does Ozempic increase fertility?

Ozempic (semaglutide) is a medication prescribed to people with Type 2 diabetes to help regulate sugar levels. It is also regularly used off-label for weight loss. People are now reporting that they are becoming pregnant after taking Ozempic, despite being unable to conceive previously or while being on birth control. [2][3]

Ozempic itself is unlikely to increase fertility. However, the effects of the drug on an individual’s weight may be the cause of improved fertility and chances of conceiving. [4]

People who are overweight or obese may be more likely to experience fertility issues due to hormonal imbalances and poor metabolic health. Obesity can impact fertility as it can cause increased estrogen, as estrogen is released by fat cells. This can lead to irregular menstruation and impaired fertility. [4][5]

Additionally, people who are overweight or experience conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may have insulin resistance. This can lead to an increased level of testosterone, which can impact fertility and reduce the quality of eggs. [5][6]

Ozempic is found to help people lose up to 20% of their body weight. This can help to improve metabolic health and reinstate regular menstruation and ovulation that has been impacted by obesity. As such, Ozempic and other weight-loss methods may lead to effects that improve fertility. [4][7]

Other weight-loss drugs

Ozempic is the brand name for semaglutide and is a glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) agonist. It is approved by the Food & Drug Administration for managing glucose (sugar) levels in people with Type 2 diabetes but is used off-label for weight loss. Wegovy is another brand name for the medication semaglutide and is approved for weight loss. [8][9]

Wegovy and Ozempic cause the same effects and are both found to cause 10-20% body weight loss. This can therefore impact fertility in those with issues relating to obesity or hormonal imbalances.

Mounjaro and Zepbound are brand names for a similar medication called tirzepatide, which has a dual action as a GLP-1 agonist and a glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) receptor agonist. Mounjaro is approved for diabetes management while Zepbound is approved for weight loss. [10]

As these medications also contribute to weight loss, they may have a similar effect on infertility issues by helping improve hormonal imbalances contributing to ovarian function.

It is important to note that the drugs themselves are not the cause of improved fertility. Rather, the drugs help individuals to lose weight, improving hormonal disruptions and restoring menstrual regularity, which increases the chances of getting pregnant. [4][11]

Recovered recently spoke to weight loss experts to find out if drugs like Ozempic have any long-term risks and whether they hold the key to consistent weight management.

How GLP-1 drugs like Ozempic affect women with PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes cysts to develop on the ovaries. PCOS is believed to be linked to significant hormonal imbalances and can cause symptoms such as acne, hair growth, irregular menstruation, and infertility. [12]

It is common for people with PCOS to experience insulin resistance, which can lead to an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. It is also common for people with PCOS to gain weight or struggle to lose weight, which can also impact the menstrual cycle. [6][12]

Drugs like Ozempic can help manage various symptoms and effects associated with PCOS, including regulating hormonal imbalances, losing weight, and managing diabetes and insulin resistance. Improvements in these areas may help increase fertility in people with PCOS. [8][12]

How drugs like Ozempic can interfere with oral birth control

Drugs like Ozempic impact how oral birth control is absorbed in the body. These medications reduce the speed with which stomach contents are absorbed, which helps the individual feel fuller for longer and reduces snacking and overeating. [8]

Slowing stomach emptying also impacts how oral medications are absorbed into the body. As such, oral contraception may be absorbed inconsistently, impacting its effectiveness and therefore increasing the chance of unplanned pregnancy. [8][13]

Additionally, Ozempic and other similar drugs can cause side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea. These effects can also impact the effectiveness of oral medications, thereby reducing their effects. [2][8]

Are other methods of birth control affected?

Only oral medications are affected in this way by drugs like Ozempic. Other methods of contraception are not affected by these medications, such as the implant, injection, and barrier methods such as condoms and diaphragms. Because of this, people taking Ozempic or similar drugs should use non-oral birth control if they wish to prevent pregnancy. [2]

What to do if you get pregnant while on Ozempic

If you get pregnant while taking Ozempic, stop taking the medication immediately. It is believed that these types of medications can cause risks to the fetus. It is recommended when trying to get pregnant to stop taking Ozempic at least two months before conceiving, as it can take this long for the medication to leave the system. [8]

Currently, data about the effects of Ozempic and similar drugs on pregnancy is limited, although new studies and research are taking place. There is some research into the effects of these medications on rodents and rabbits, which demonstrates fetal abnormalities, miscarriage, and growth issues. [14][15]

Final thought

People taking Ozempic or other weight loss drugs should consult with their doctor about the impact and side effects of their medications, particularly if they are planning to become pregnant or are aiming to prevent pregnancy with oral birth control. Doctors can advise on the safety of various medications, prescribe alternative weight loss treatments, or provide other birth control methods.

Although drugs like Ozempic may provide benefits to individuals struggling with fertility, they should not be used to help in getting pregnant. It is advised to stop taking Ozempic and similar medications two months before trying to get pregnant, due to potential risks. Adopting healthy lifestyle choices can also impact overall health and fertility.