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Does Stevia Cause Infertility?

Does Stevia Cause Infertility?

There has been a lot of debate in recent months as to whether or not Stevia can cause infertility. While Stevia is being touted as the “new” sugar substitute of choice, it is interesting to note that this all-natural sweetener has been used for more than 1,500 years with little (if any) side effects.

So, why all the hype regarding Stevia’s ability to alter a woman’s fertility? The answer to that questions stems from two sources:

  • Someone mentioning that women in Paraguay use extracts from the Stevia plant as a contraceptive
  • A 32-year-old study which cited that Stevia does indeed offer a contraceptive effect.

That begs the question, if Stevia can indeed prohibit a pregnancy, why hasn’t more research been done to see if it can be used to develop better and safer contraceptives for women? The answer to that question is, “It has!”

Since the first study performed in Uruguay was released in the 1960s, there have been countless other studies completed which contradict its findings. But, first let’s talk about the two main studies used by the FDA to keep Stevia from becoming a common sweetener in American homes.

The Kruc Study
In 1968, Professor Joseph Kruc, a member of Purdue University’s department of biochemistry conducted a study of Stevia at the University of the Republic in Montevideo. Giving a small number of rats very high doses of stevia, it was concluded that the rats given the herbal extract produced less offspring than those who were not.

The problem, even Kruc admits today, is that the rats in the study were given such high doses of Stevia for such a short period of time that, even if it did cause the fertility problems noted, it could have been because of an overdose of the compound. People ingesting Stevia as a sweetener would never be able to consume such a large amount in such a short period of time.

Another concern Kruc admits is that there is no evidence to show that the reaction experienced by the rats would also be experienced by humans.

The Alvarez Study
In 1988, professor Mauro Alvarez of Brazil’s University of Maringa Foundation repeated the study, reporting in a Brazilian pharmaceutical journal that female mice given Stevia experienced a contraceptive effect similar to those reported by Kruc.

The problem with the results, argue critics is that the Alvarez study lacks the information and analysis required by such a research study and cannot be considered valid. According to the Herb Research Foundation the study lacks any credibility at all and should be disregarded.

Even Alvarez himself now claims that further research has led him to believe that Stevia is completely safe for human consumption.

Despite the problems with both studies, the FDA continues to use them as their main source against Stevia.

More Recent Research
Many other researchers have taken on the task of proving that Stevia is a safe natural sweetener, which offers no detrimental health or fertility effects to its users. Dozens of researchers throughout the United States and Europe have studied the herbal extract but, to date, have found no evidence that it causes any of the problems cited in the earlier reports.

In 1999, the primate research center of Chulalonhkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand gave high doses of Stevia to both male and female hamsters to see if their fertility would be affected. Even though 2,500 mg a day was administered (a human dose is about 2 mg), there was no evidence of decreased fertility.

Then, in 2008, researchers reported in the Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction (vol 12, 2008) that Stevia rebaudiana had absolutely no adverse effects on the fertility of female mice.

The same conclusion has been reached in a number of other studies including those conducted by The Herb Research Foundation, Medicinal Plant Research of the USDA, and The Division of Pathology, National Institutes of Health, Japan.

So, what’s the bottom line?
It seems that these two research studies, dating back almost 40 years, had kept the FDA from approving Stevia as a common sweetener, due to concerns about its effects on both male and female fertility. Dozens of further research studies show no evidence for concern.

Plus, there is some question as to why pharmaceutical companies worldwide have not used Stevia, a completely safe herbal extract, to develop better and more effective contraceptives if indeed it holds these properties. The answer may lie in the fact that it simply doesn’t.

Today, Stevia is sold in almost all grocery stores in both liquid and powdered form, as a sugar substitute.

Our conclusion? At this point, there is no evidence to support the claim that Stevia can – or does – cause a decrease in fertility for either men or women. Stevia may be a very useful herb for women who have PCOS and are seeking an alternative to using sugar in their diets. In short it seems that most modern-day research shows no evidence that Stevia will decrease your fertility or that it can be used for contraceptive purposes. While this all-natural sweetener appears safe for human conception, it is important to note that if you personally are worried that it could have an impact to your fertility, it is best to avoid it. After all, the stress of wondering whether or not it is keeping you from getting pregnant could in itself impede conception.


  • Planas, G. M., & Kucacute, J. (1968). Contraceptive Properties of Stevia rebaudiana. Science, 162(3857), 1007-1007. doi:10.1126/science.162.3857.1007 Retrieved from:
  • Kumar , R., & Oommen, O. V. (n.d.). Stevia rebaudiana Bertani does not produce female reproductive toxic effect : Study in Swiss albino mouse. Retrieved from:
  • Sahelian, R., & Gates, D. (1999). The stevia cookbook. New York: Avery.

Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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  1. Avatar

    Thanks for collecting and summarizing this information! Could you provide the citations for the articles you reference? I want to flesh out my understanding of this topic, but because I’ve been hearing a lot of anecdotal evidence from all sides for many years I’d like to read the research articles for myself. Thanks again! 🙂

  2. Avatar
    Clearly this author did very low quality research or was paid to say this. The internet has been scrubbed almost clean of the research that shows Stevia DOES decrease fertility but if you know how to research and type the correct key words then you can find it. People have to be so unbelievably careful to navigate through big money agenda and Stevia has huge motivation to produce tons of nay saying, derailing articles. Using Stevia regularly over time is too much of a risk, especially if you’re young and far from having kids still.

    • Dear Nikkea,

      The study and article you have linked to do not equate to high-quality research, I’m sorry. This one abstract about research with lab rats, potentially immature lab rats, who were given high doses of Stevia extract, does show these males rats experiencing less than optimal effects. There is no disputing the findings, but the doses of herb are often extremely high in comparison to the animal’s weight in these studies, it is but one account, and these results also were not conclusive of any effect Stevia may have on humans.

      As herbalist we would not suggest inappropriate doses in moderation as a sugar alternative. In our many years of collective practice, we have never had a client’s fertility impacted negatively. Choosing its use however is an individual choice and not necessary. It’s great that you are trying to find reputable resources to help yourself make an informed choice.

  3. Avatar

    I like how the author makes an intelligent point to consider stress on the left.

  4. Avatar

    I was diagnosed with PCOS/weight related infertility, and I used stevia as a sugar substitute and was able to lose 50lbs and then conceived my son. I found at least for myself that stevia had no effect on my ability to conceive, actually the opposite as I was able to lose the weight that was hindering my ability to conceive. I also used it throughout my pregnancy.

  5. Avatar

    Thank you for the article! It sounds to me like there is no conclusive evidence that Stevia does, or does not, cause any fertility issues.
    My only comment is that, during my first pregnancy, I had a usual recipe with some stevia and it tasted AWFUL to me. I often consumed it before so it was definitely the pregnancy changing my tastes. To me, this was a sign that I should not be consuming stevia during my pregnancy. Nevertheless, I think it is a great sweetener for the majority of the population but I will continue to avoid it when I’m pregnant.

  6. Avatar

    Thank you for those information. We’ve been trying for more than one year for our second kid, and it hasn’t happened yet. I got pregnant super quickly for our first baby and we have been questioning why it’s not happening again…

    The only things I have changed between when I got pregnant with our first baby and the last 1 1/2 years are that I stopped eating yogurt (because I’d like to control my body to be alkaline to “hopefully” have girl for second baby) and changed Splenda to Stevia because I thought Stevia should be better since it’s natural.

    But now I regret wasting over year because of this stevia…. so sad….

    Hopefully stop taking it helps me to get pregnant again soon.

    • Dear Kiyoe,

      I am sorry this article has made you “regret” using Stevia instead of Splenda. As the article’s author shares, “At this point, there is no evidence to support the claim that Stevia can – or does – cause a decrease in fertility for either men or women.” Using Stevia in moderation in place of the nutrient-void, sucralose-based artificial sweetener Splenda is, we feel, just fine.

      If trying to have another child for over a year, there may be a 12 % chance it could be Secondary Infertility. Learn about common causes and a natural plan of action through our article Secondary Infertility – When Trying for Another Child is a Struggle.

      I hope this is helpful and wish you the best!

    • Avatar

      Hi Kiyoe, Were you able to conceive after stopping stevia use?

  7. Avatar

    Youre giving people false information.

    • Hi TC,

      Often times rat studies are not reflective of how a plant may act in the human body. Hethir specifically targets female fertility, “So, why all the hype regarding Stevia’s ability to alter a woman’s fertility?” The study you linked to is focused on male fertility. We do not advise using Stevia in large, therapeutic doses, as anything taken in excessive amounts may result in negative side-effects.

      All the best to you!

  8. Avatar

    By the way, Paraguay and Uruguay are different countries.

    • Dear Ale,

      Thank you and yes Paraguay and Uruguay are different countries. It is because it was rumored or heard that Paraguayan women tried Stevia as a contraceptive that one study was conducted at the University of the Republic in Montevideo, Uruguay, to evaluate Stevia’s effectiveness as a contraceptive. This, by the way, has not been confirmed in multiple studies since.

  9. Avatar

    Thank you for the article. If the FDA were concerned with the fertility of the nation, surely they would support the results of similar studies on soya. I personally have been using xylitol because of all the contradicting information on stevia.

    • Avatar

      While Xylitol is sweet & a great antibacterial [dentists love it in toothpaste] it is no longer made from the bark of birch trees but mostly from GMO corn. It is also highly processed using methane to extract & chlorine to bleach it. Expensive as well.
      Stevia can be grown in the garden for free, dehydrated & stored indefinitely. Trim it every few weeks, dry & grind leaves into a powder. At the end of the season let it flower & go to seed & it will come back next year.

    • Hello!

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It is indeed important to choose a quality source of Xylitol if choosing to use this sweetener. There are 100% non-GMO Xylitol products on the marked still derived birchwood grown in the USA.

  10. Avatar

    Thank you so much for posting a well written article on this. Most people cant be bothered to carefully read research and some may not even understand it.

  11. Avatar

    Hello! I wanted to let readers know that for the last 3yrs I have been unable to consume ANY form of sugar/sweeteners, including honey, maple syrup, etc. My body developed some sort of crazy reaction to ALL sugars/sweeteners, so I live life reading ingredients list! My entire diet revolves around adding 100% pure Stevia powder to anything I want sweetened.

    BUT during this time, I breastfed DS for 22mths, (all started after he was born…could eat all sugars before that); lost over 40lbs; in Feb.2014 conceived baby #2, and am having a very healthy pregnancy. I’m due Nov.2014…a purely STEVIA baby! My family doctor and midwives have never expressed concerns about my Stevia intake.

  12. Avatar

    Hi! I’d like to read this study: “Then in 2008, researchers reported in the Journal of Endocrinology and Reproduction (vol 12, 2008) that Stevia rebaudiana had absolutely no adverse effects on the fertility of female mice.”
    Could you provide me with a link to the study so that I can read the entire study, not just the conclusion of the author of this article? Thank you

  13. Avatar

    Hello! I realize this article was published years ago, and wonder if your stance on this has changed at all. I’ve been looking into Trim Healthy Mama, which uses stevia and erythritol in place of sugar. Many women on the plan have experienced miscarriages while using stevia, even though they’ve had healthy pregnancies before. The number of women reporting miscarriages is concerning.
    I’d just like to know if you’ve heard of this or know anything about it. Thanks!

    • Elizabeth Willett, MA, CH

      Hello Jennifer!

      Thank you for asking!

      Our stance on consuming Stevia while trying to conceive has not changed since publication of this article.

      I am not familiar with Trim Healthy Mama and the entirety of this plan, so am unable to speak to the results of the women on the plan.

      Best wishes!

    • Avatar

      I have been doing THM since Jan 2013, to say that many women on the plan have experienced mc, is blatantly false. While there have been women, myself included, who have had mc in that time, there have been MANY more who have had successful pregnancies in that time, myself included. In fact, my 15 month old is our strongest baby yet, and he’s our 5th child. One very important thing that needs to be remembered, is that a lot of women doing THM already have several children, as we have more pregnancies, our chances of mc increase, that’s just a simple fact of life. The THM authors have done extensive research, they wouldn’t recommend Stevia as a sweetener if they knew it caused any issues.

    • Avatar

      Hi Jennifer. 🙂 I know I’m replying to a comment from several years ago, so you may or may not see this. One possible reason for the Trim Healthy Mama => miscarriages correlation may be that THM is very low-fat. Healthy fats are required for the proper development of a baby’s brain and body. Trim Healthy Mama starves women of fats (fat has been demonized in recent years as the reason for weight-gain or “fat”-gain). Ironically, we are now seeing that high-fat/keto diets often = fat loss. On the whole, we’re seeing more correlation between high-carb and/or low-fat diets & weight gain / impaired cognitive function. THM does not provide all the necessary nutrition for the healthy growth of baby.

  14. Update 2014 – We are back! We have been away for a while and we sure have missed all of your wonderful questions and thoughts on our articles. Moving forward, one of our staff herbalists will be here to respond to comments! We look forward to connecting with our readers once again!

  15. Avatar

    I got pregnant with triplets naturally while using stevia as my only sweetener! It was an unplanned pregnancy (yet completely welcomed) and we were using protection:) Obviously does not impede fertility!

  16. Avatar


    I do like stevia. I do know that stevia is a natural sweetner and also a natural herb. I have stevia in a kitchen in my home. I haven’t consumed stevia for a while. I usually consume some xylitol and some sugar in iced tea that I made from Lipton or another brand of iced tea. I do drink some water, but I really should have drink more water though. Is that true that stevia would cause an infertility? James and I are newlyweds and we will be married for 4 years in October. We have been trying to conceive since November or December of 2007. I have been under a lot of emotional stress as I do know that causes an infertility. Please let me know if you do believe that when both a woman and a man do consume certain amount of stevia from iced tea and other foods as it would cause some infertility. I am a nature sunshine distributor; I learned about stevia and xylitol through nature sunshine wellness company.

    Have a great weekend! May God be with you always!

    Teresa Hewitt

    • Hi Theresa,

      This article states the following conclusion….dozens of further research studies show no evidence for concern……….At this point, there is no evidence to support the claim that Stevia can – or does – cause a decrease in fertility for either men or women.

      Have a great day,