Year : 2014  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 597-601

Decline of semen quality during IVF is not associated with subjective male stress

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
2 Department of Clinical Pharmacology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
3 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Krankenhaus Barmherzige Schwestern, Linz, Austria
4 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany

Correspondence Address:
Clemens B Tempfer
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1008-682X.125404

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The aim of the present study was to assess if semen quality declines during in vitro fertilization (IVF) and whether or not this phenomenon is triggered by chronic male stress. In order to test this hypothesis, we first investigated a retrospective cohort of 155 male IVF patients (testing cohort). Subsequently, we started a prospective cohort study in men undergoing their first IVF and assessed semen quality and subjective male chronic stress using a validated tool, i.e. the Fertility Problem Inventory (FPI) questionnaire. The association between stress and sperm quality decline measured 4-6 weeks before the start of IVF (T1) and at the day of oocyte retrieval (T2) was the primary outcome. Live birth rate, first trimester abortion and rate of poor responders were secondary outcomes. In the testing cohort, mean progressive motility, but not mean sperm density significantly declined. There were 78/154 (51%) men who showed a decline in semen density and 50/154 (32%) men who showed a decline in progressive motility. In the validation cohort, progressive motility declined, whereas, sperm density increased from T1 to T2. Of 78 men, 27 men had increased stress (FPI-score > 146). Sperm density and progressive motility were not significantly different in men with and without stress. However, in the presence of male stress, couples had a higher rate of poor responders, miscarriages and a lower rate of live births. Subjective stress is not associated with a decline in semen quality observed during IVF but may be associated with adverse pregnancy outcome.

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