Just two months of stress may damage a man’s sperm and slash his chances of having children, a new study suggests. Israeli scientists found men are 47 per cent more likely to have swimmers with weak motility if they are under intense pressure.
Weak motility – known to be affected by lifestyle choices – makes it less likely that the sperm will successfully fertilise an egg.
Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva led the study.
They analysed 10,535 sperm samples donated by men during periods in Israel deemed ‘unstressful’ between 2009 and 2017.
These were then compared to 659 samples from men take up to two months after fierce military battles between Israel and Gaza.
The men had an average age of 32, which, according to figures, is the average age for first time fathers in the United Kingdom (UK).
Even though the findings related to just those living in conflict zones, the researchers argued they could apply to any mental stress.
Study author, Dr Eliahu Levitas, said: “This study shows that prolonged stress can have an effect on sperm quality.
“Mental stress is known to have an adverse effect on fertility, but there is little research on the impact of stress on sperm quality.”
The findings were presented at the International Summit on Assisted Reproduction and Genetics in Tel Aviv.