Association of state and trait anxiety to semen quality of in vitro fertilization patients: a controlled study

The relationship between semen quality and psychological conditions relative to state and trait anxiety was investigated among 94 volunteer men enrolled in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) program.


Elisa Vellani, Ph.D., Alessandro Colasante, Ph.D., Luciana Mamazza, Ph.D., Maria Giulia Minasi, M.Sc., Ermanno Greco, M.D., Arturo Bevilacqua, Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 6, Pages 1565-1572.e2, May 2013


Study objective:

To investigate the relationship between semen quality and state/trait anxiety in patients enrolled in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) program and in control subjects.


Cross-sectional study.


Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Biology, European Hospital, Rome.


Ninety-four first-attempt IVF patients and 85 age-matched, random subjects recruited in the period July 2006 through March 2008.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Behavioural features of stress, including state and trait anxiety, selfperceived impact of physical disturbance on everyday activities, ethanol consumption, cigarette smoking, and semen parameters, such as semen volume, sperm concentration, total count, motility, morphology and DNA fragmentation.


Increased levels of both state and trait anxiety were associated to lower semen volume, sperm concentration and count, reduced sperm motility and increased sperm DNA fragmentation of IVF patients, therefore influencing seminal parameters at the macroscopic and cellular/subcellular levels. Similar results were obtained on control subjects.


Our data confirm previous observations on state anxiety and show that trait anxiety is negatively associated to male fertility as well.

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