Categorically, all drugs have side effects, topics of recent studies have been the reduction in the male sperm count and sperm immobility and the associated with the use of these medications as well as other anti-depressants. As with any medication the need to weigh the side effects with the symptoms of the conditions being treated, or the consequences of allowing the condition to go untreated. Often the more serious side effects of the SSRIs are suicicdal thoughts (predominately in teens), stomach issues, memory loss, nervousness, anxiety; and now supposedly fertility issues.
There are other anti-depressants used in medication management that can be used in place of the SSRIs if one is attempting to have a family, or possibly postpone treatment until the patient's wife becomes pregnant or other remedies such as artificial insemination using the male;s sperm taken prior to usage with the SSRIs. Certain issues do have to be taken into account such as the effectiveness of the SSRIs and the severity of the depression. If a patient is severely depressed often an SSRIs have tracks record of asuaging the symptoms of depresssion nearly 70% the first time being used; therefore, in cases of extreme depression it might be wise to suspend attempts at conception until the patient is stabilized. Additionally to avoid relapse patients should consider remaining on the SSRI for at least 12 months after the symptoms have subsided.
These studies are not conclusive and there might be cases where the SSRIs don't effect the patients ability to have a family; or the effects don't have a deleterious effect towards fertility in certain cases. Every case will be different. If a patient is suffering from depresson and attempting to conceive, he should consider having a baseline sperm count done before begining treatment with the SSRIs and then afterwards if they have any problems with pregnancy. If there is proof positive that the SSRI is the culprite, maybe placing the patient on a bendzodiazepine for a short time might be the answer while trying to conceive, or using one of the older triclyclics or other medications that have not been demonstrated to affect fertility.
Again back to weighing the benefits of the anti-depressant, the severity of the depression, and the urgency of the desire to start a family are decisions that should be discussed with one's psychiatrist and fertility specialist.