Does Stress Affect Male Fertility?

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Last Editorial Review: 8/21/2017

Ask the experts

How does stress impact sperm motility?

Doctor's response

The published data on stress and its potential effects on semen are not conclusive. While some studies have shown that chronic stress can be associated with a lowered total sperm count and impaired semen quality, other studies have shown that emotional stress has little effect on semen quality.

There are many causes for an abnormal semen analysis (lowered sperm count and/or abnormalities with sperm morphology [appearance] or motility), including both genetic and environmental factors. In some cases, it is not possible to determine the exact cause of decreased sperm mobility.

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Last Editorial Review: 8/21/2017
Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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