Prolonged stress, such as war, can reduce fertility in men

“Mental stress is known to have an adverse effect on fertility... This study shows that prolonged stress can have an effect on sperm quality."

June 8, 2018 06:44
1 minute read.
A doctor prepares eggs and sperm for an attempt at artificial insemination

A doctor prepares eggs and sperm for an attempt at artificial insemination. (photo credit: REUTERS/ALESSANDRO BIANCHI)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


Going into battle and enduring other types of prolonged stress can harm men’s sperm quality, according to a new study by researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba.

The study, just presented at the International Summit on Assisted Reproduction and Genetics in Tel Aviv, shows that more than a third (37%) of sperm samples taken during a stressful period were found to have low motility.

“Mental stress is known to have an adverse effect on fertility, but there is little research on the impact of stress on sperm quality,” said Dr. Eliahu Levitas, a member of BGU’s Faculty of Health Sciences and director of the In-Vitro Fertilization Unit at Soroka. “This study shows that prolonged stress can have an effect on sperm quality.”

In general, the probability of weak motility – ability to move and swim – in sperm samples taken during periods of prolonged stress was 47% higher.

Weak motility makes it less likely that the sperm will successfully fertilize an egg.

The study included 10,536 samples donated during quiet periods between 2009 and 2017, which were compared to 659 sperm samples taken during and up to two months after two military conflicts between Israel and Gaza in 2012 and 2014. The subjects’ average age was 32, and 44% were smokers.

Levitas, who is also director of Soroka’s sperm bank, explained: “Our reasoning was that even men who heard incoming-rocket warning sirens during a conflict experienced stress throughout the day over a longer period. We were surprised to discover that there is a connection between the security situation and the sperm counts.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

COW’S MILK can be replaced with almond or coconut milk
July 13, 2019
Alternatively Speaking: Head, shoulders, knees and toes


Cookie Settings