Could Stress Lower Your Sperm Count?

An Italian research team led by Elisa Vellani of the European Hospital in Rome recently published a study in the journal Fertility and Sterility illustrating a cause and effect relationship between higher stress and anxiety levels and lower sperm concentration and counts. According to the study, the more stressed men were also more prone to DNA breaks than their less stressed counterparts.

Villani's research team recruited 94 men who were visiting the European Hospital's fertility clinic for the first time. The control group included 85 other men who were not seeking fertility treatment. The report did say the causal relationship was more prevalent in those seeking fertility treatments, which is itself a very stressful process. Those not seeking fertility treatments had better sperm quality anyway, and the associations between the healthy controls stress and sperm quality was weaker.

The bottom line of this report is that stress may not matter to those with normal sperm counts, but according to Vellani and colleagues, these "social and psychological factors" should be considered when addressing male factor infertility.

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