Stress Makes You Shoot Blanks

Trying to have a kid? Well, maybe try and lower your stress level—it’s affecting your boys.

According to a study published in Fertility and Sterility, men with more stress in their lives have worse sperm—in terms of levels of sperm concentration, motility (a sperm’s ability to move properly), and whether it is morphologically normal. All those factors influence sterility.

Researchers studied 198 men, ages thirty-eight to forty-nine, between 2005 and 2008. Men reported how stressed they felt, and they also reported life events researchers consider stressful (e.g., job losses, divorce, death in the family, etc). They also provided semen samples. The result: whether using the men’s own subjective description of how stressed they were or a more objective measure based on the presence of stressful life factors, stressful men had worse sperm. Also interesting: unemployed men had lower quality sperm than employed men, no matter how stressful they felt their lives were.

According to Teresa Janevic, the study’s lead author, “Stress has long been identified as having an influence on health. Our research suggests that men’s reproductive health may also be affected by their social environment.”

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