Relationship between psychological stress and semen quality among in-vitro fertilization patients

Clarke RN et al, Human Reproduction vol.14 no.3 pp.753–758, 1999
Human Reproduction 

In a small prospective cohort study researchers found that stress affects men doing IVF, enough for it to have a negative impact on sperm quality. 


The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between psychological stress and semen quality among men undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). We assessed psychological variables, including self-reported stress, and sperm parameters in a group of 40 men undergoing IVF for the first time at a pre-IVF sampling period (T1) and at the time of egg retrieval (T2). Thirty-one patients completed the study. Results indicated that total and motile sperm concentration, total motile spermatozoa, and lateral head displacement decreased significantly from T1 to T2 in a high percentage of participants. In addition, the
perceived importance of producing a semen specimen increased significantly (P J 0.001) from T1 to T2, and this change was significantly correlated (P < 0.05) with diminished semen quality at the time of oocyte retrieval. No decline in the semen quality or increase in perceived stress at egg retrieval was observed at T2 in male factor patients (n J 7). This study provides evidence for a significant decline in semen quality of male IVF patients at egg retrieval and demonstrates an inverse relationship between semen quality and specific aspects of psychological stress.