Two months of stress are enough to reduce the quality of the sperm. This is suggested by an Israeli study conducted on 11,000 semen samples. According to the researchers, stress increases the risk of slow sperm by 47%. This affects male fertility and in some cases even prevents children.
The researchers analyzed 10,535 samples collected between 2009 and 2017, in relatively stress-free periods for the country. They compared them with 659 samples taken in the two months following military clashes between Israel and Hamas in 2014. The average age of men was 32, the average age of the first child in the United Kingdom.
The results showed how stress is relevant to male fertility. 37% of the samples collected during the conflicts showed reduced motility. This means that in the long run, stress can affect male fertility semi-permanently.
The study focused on men who lived in areas of military conflict. Nevertheless, according to the researchers, the study applies to all types of stress. The results would then be valid also for those who have lost their jobs, suffered a mourning or experienced a traumatic event. Whatever causes mental stress, it would be detrimental to fertility.
It is clear that mental health has a strong impact on fertility, in the same way as other lifestyle factors. Unfortunately, research in this regard is low, so it is not known for sure how mental stress acts on spermatozoa.