Depression negatively affects semen quality

23 Oct 2021
Depression negatively affects semen quality

Men with depression appear to have poor semen quality parameters, including volume, concentration, count, and motility, a study has found. Furthermore, the association between depression and semen quality does not seem to be mediated by oxidative stress.

Researchers looked at 1,000 potential sperm donors who completed the Beck Depression Inventory questionnaire. They also tested urine samples for concentrations of oxidative stress biomarkers, including 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine, 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal-mercapturic acid, and 8-iso-prostaglandin F2α (8-isoPGF2α). Repeated semen quality parameters were measured in 5,880 samples according to the World Health Organization laboratory manual.

In the population, 391 (39.1 percent) men had mild depression (BDI score, 0–4), 67 (6.7 percent) had moderate depression (BDI score, 5–13), and 19 (1.9 percent) had severe depression (BDI score, 14–20).

Of note, depression showed an inverse dose–response association with semen quality parameters. In men with severe depression, semen volume was lower by 25.26 percent (95 percent confidence interval [CI], −38.65 to −8.93), sperm count by 37.04 percent (95 percent CI, −55.37 to −11.20), total motility by 13.57 percent (95 percent CI, −23.17 to −2.78), and progressive motility by 15.08 percent (95 percent CI, −25.09 to −3.72) as compared with men who had no depression (n=523).

Men with moderate depression also had a 12.28-percent (95 percent CI, −21.16 to −2.40) lower semen volume and 23.56-percent (−36.50 to −7.97) lower total sperm count.

Additionally, severity of depression had a positive dose–response association with urinary 8-isoPGF2α concentrations. However, there was no evidence that oxidative stress markers mediated the association between depression status and semen quality.

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