Sperm quality may depend on stress, anxiety
ReutersA man's ability to produce sperm may depend on his ability to handle stress, according to a study from Italy that looked at the impact of short- and longer-term stress.
February 23, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Fertility & Sterility, found that men with higher levels of both short- and long-term stress and anxiety ejaculated less semen and had lower sperm concentration and counts.
Men with the highest anxiety levels were also more likely to have sperm that were deformed or less mobile.
“Taken together, our observations strongly suggest that (stress and anxiety) may represent a significant factor involved in male fertility,” wrote the researchers led by Elisa Vellani of the European Hospital in Rome.
Previous research has found that men going through fertility treatment or evaluation have higher stress levels than the average person, and some studies have also shown links between stress and sperm quality, Vellani's team wrote. But nobody had looked at whether short-term increases in stress and long-term anxiety had different effects.
For the study, the team recruited 94 men who were visiting the hospital's fertility clinic for the first time, and, as a comparison group, 85 other men who were not seeking fertility treatments.
Each man provided a semen sample for analysis. The men then answered two surveys that measured their current stress and long-term anxiety on scales ranging from 20 to 80 points, with higher scores indicating greater stress or anxiety.