Effects of work and life stress on semen quality

A cross-sectional analysis of 193 men in California found an inverse association between perceived stress and sperm concentration, motility, and morphology. Associations for stressful life events were similar.


Teresa Janevic, Ph.D., Linda Kahn, M.A., M.P.H., Paul Landsbergis, Ph.D., Piera Cirillo, Ph.D., Barbara Cohn, Ph.D., Xinhua Liu, Ph.D., Pam Factor-Litvak, Ph.D.

Volume 102, Issue 2, Pages 530-538



To evaluate associations between work-related stress, stressful life events, and perceived stress and semen quality.


Cross-sectional analysis.


Northern California.


193 men from the Child Health and Development Studies evaluated between 2005–2008.



Main Outcome Measure(s):

Measures of stress including job strain, perceived stress, and stressful life events; outcome measures of sperm concentration, percentage of motile sperm, and percentage of morphologically normal sperm.


We found an inverse association between perceived stress score and sperm concentration (estimated coefficient b = −0.09 × 103/mL; 95% confidence interval [CI] = −0.18, −0.01), motility (b = −0.39; 95% CI = −0.79, 0.01), and morphology (b= −0.14; 95% CI, −0.25, −0.04) in covariate-adjusted linear regression analyses. Men who experienced two or more stressful life events in the past year compared with no stressful events had a lower percentage of motile sperm (b= −8.22; 95% CI, −14.31, −2.13) and a lower percentage of morphologically normal sperm (b = −1.66; 95% CI, −3.35, 0.03) but a similar sperm concentration. Job strain was not associated with semen parameters.


In this first study to examine all three domains of stress, perceived stress and stressful life events but not work-related stress were associated with semen quality.

Read the full text at: http://www.fertstert.org/article/S0015-0282(14)00381-1/fulltext

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